Movie Rated: 18+
Genre: Crime, Thriller
What’s The Story About?
Directed by Marc Vigil, Silence Of The Marsh is a psychological thriller set in Valencia, Spain, where a crime writer unearths a lot of murky details about a major scandal in the city that encompasses politicians, law officials, and gangsters. The story begins with a crime novelist, only known as Q, committing a murder, which itself becomes the subject of his hugely successful novel. When he begins researching for his next book, he abducts an economics professor; however, it triggers a chain of events which changes his life.
As the film’s principal actor, Pedro Alonso exudes a mysterious charm which suits the character, Q, since we never know what he’s going to do next. A lot of times, it’s the character’s cold-blooded approach to his work, whether it’s writing or killing, that takes you by surprise, and Pedro Alonso plays this role quite well. The film’s other main character is Falconetti, a gangster who’s on the trail to find out the whereabouts of an economics professor. Nacho Fresneda is raw and rustic as Falconetti, and surprisingly, there’s quite a fair bit of emotional undercurrent too to his character, especially when he talks about his past and his future. Carmina Barrios, as the mob boss La Puri, adds an interesting layer to the whole drama since it’s not every day where the leader of a drug cartel is an elderly woman.
Based on a novel written by Juanjo Braulio, The Silence Of The Marsh tries to draw parallels to the swamp near the city and the many power centres in the society, right from the politicians to the commoners. While this analogy is perfect, the major problem with the film is that it doesn’t try to push the envelope despite having a promising premise. The opening act is compelling and you always wonder what the lead character, Q, is going to do next. However, once he uncovers the truth behind what the economics professor was trying to do, the film itself loses its key element of surprise. As a result, events in the film just happen and the lead character himself is sidelined. There’s no major conflict in the film and as a result, the threat to the protagonist’s life doesn’t feel urgent enough. After a point, it turns so generic that you are left wondering if there’s at least a twist coming or if there are any more parallels to be drawn.
Pedro Alonso’s characterisation and the way he emotes is so subtle that one could mistake him as a passive character; however, Pedro captures this trait quite well and the moral dilemma that the character goes through is one of the few highlights of the film. The screenplay, written by Carlos de Pando and Sara Antuña, keeps you hooked initially, but the film gets quite cliched after a point.
A major problem with the film, and perhaps even the source material, is that it’s never clear what the director Marc Vigil wants to convey through the film. Is it about how the protagonist got away with murder? Or is it about how he uncovered the truth behind the drug trade in the city? If it’s a bit of both, then the film doesn’t leave you with a satisfactory feeling. By sidelining its most interesting character Q, The Silence Of The Marsh ends up losing its mysterious charm. And that’s a pity considering how some of the initial portions of the film are so gripping.
Do I recommend it?
For a film which tries to be a slow-burn psychological thriller, The Silence Of The Marsh doesn’t offer enough twists or drama to make for a compelling drama. The narrative and the story have both silence and a huge marsh, but their combination isn’t as scary as the director makes it sound.