By Vinayak Chakravorty
You would love or hate this one largely depending on how you take the ending. For most parts watching the film, you gather that “The Silence Of The Marsh” is about a crime novelist who resorts to crime to draw inspiration for his stories. Then, as the film ends, the narrative tosses an open-ended spin that would seem born more out of the need to leave an impact than necessity.
That sort of an open ending is not uncommon in world cinema but it comes with a problem unless it is smart enough. Despite belonging to the saleable genre of crime thriller, Marc Vigil’s debut directorial feature film wouldn’t fit everyone’s idea of entertainment. The story could seem rather vague for many in the end — especially those who like their on-screen climaxes well-explained.
If you binged on “Money Heist”, you already know the film’s dapper lead actor Pedro Alonso, as Berlin from that web series. Here, he plays a silent, scheming novelist simply introduced as Q who doesn’t think twice before bumping off a cabbie because he finds him irritating. The protagonist of his book kills as easily, and when Q is asked, he coldly declares: “Because he can.”
Carlos de Pando and Sara Antuna’s screenplay, based on Juanjo Braulio’s novel of the same name as the film, draws you into the narrative on that note, and you are instantly interested. The concept seems tailormade for an enjoyable neo-noir thriller that mixes psychological drama with a twist of tension, you reckon.
The idea of a writer or creative artiste letting himself be pushed by darker psyche in order to create something perfect is not new. Random recall would bring the Coen Brothers’ gem “Barton Fink” to mind, or Spike Jonze’s simply brilliant “Adaptation”. Nearly two decades back Matthew Parkhill made “Dot The i” (which spawned Bollywood ‘inspirations’ of varying messed-up proportions as “Shabd” and “Naqaab”).
Each of these international efforts, while bearing a broader likeness in theme, are wholly different from each other, and “The Silence Of The Marsh” comes with its individual stamp, too.
The trouble with Marc Vigil’s feature is you get the feeling the film cannot decide what it wants to be. “The Silence Of The Marsh” is too abstruse in its narrative style to engage the wider audience, and at the same time, despite its abstract overtones, not intelligent enough as a thriller to surprise the more cinematically-versed.
If the idea was to solely cash in on Pedro Alonso’s post “Money Heist” star status that bit should work for the film. Alonso as Q makes for a mean psycho, ruthless at all times and violent when he needs to be. It is a quietly evil role, and Alonso renders the right amount of menace. In a film that does not have too many characters, he does well to hold it together with assured screen presence.
For a 92-minute deal, “The Silence Of The Marsh” is okay for a watch if you are game for an unusual package that intrigues, never mind it is imperfect.