Looking for a slow-burn arthouse thriller with a hint of sisterly love? You may have met your match.
Silence & Darkness is the debut feature film from writer/director Barak Barkan about two sisters with a unique bond, and their father who seems to have some secrets of his own. There is a lot to like about this film, but it is the natural and close-knit bond between the two sisters, Anna and Beth, that sold me. Anna (played by Mina Walker) is more of the leader of the two and has a more extroverted personality. She also happens to be blind. Beth (Joan Glackin), on the other hand, is deaf and is more introverted. You can tell that they love each other, and have a strong bond. They even have their own language based on touch that allows them to communicate with one another that was so interesting to watch. The relationship with their father (Jordan Lage) is also interesting to say the least. As the film goes on, you begin to see him in a different light, and Jordan Lage does a great job of making you not completely ever trust him.
To get the payoff in the end of the film, be prepared to be uncomfortable, as this movie is very slow-paced. I think that is intentional by the filmmakers, as there are other things in the film to add to the uneasy feeling, such as shots that are either framed at a unique angle or hang on for longer than you would expect. A lot of the time the way the camera is positioned, it makes you feel like you are a fly on the wall or that you shouldn’t be there. It’s really smart for the story, but can boarder on dragging a little bit.
The last thing I want to comment on is how flipping beautiful this film is. It was filmed in Vermont, and the scenery is fantastic. The property ends up being a character in itself, due to it’s secluded nature while still being very open. On an indie budget, it is amazing to me that this film looks as good as it does.
If you are someone like me who loves something a little slower that makes you think, this film is great. I thought of it as a lovechild between the films Swallow and Run in the style of Ari Aster. Check it out if that sounds interesting to you, or if you just want to support indie film.