Silence is a beautifully made film with such an abundance of picturesque shots of the Irish landscape that it could be used as a Bord Fáilte campaign.
Throughout the film we hear only what the main character Eoghan (Mac Giolla Bhríde) hears. Combine this with the gorgeous camerawork, and the audience really gets immersed in his experience.
Soundman Eoghan is moving back to Ireland after 15 years of living in Berlin, which we see at the beginning of the film as an extremely busy and loud city. When he comes to Ireland he takes off into the countryside on a journey to his home on Tory Island, recording natural sounds free of man-made noise along the way.
Eoghan is in search of silence and when he meets people along his journey they share their ideas on the subject. A barman in a quiet country pub tells Eoghan to be careful because "too much silence will drive a man mad", while another man tells him that silence is more than just the absence of wind or airplanes, that silence is like life; we are born out of silence and return to silence in death.
It’s difficult to categorise Silence as there are documentary style elements to it - no surprise given the director’s experience in documentary making - but we also follow Eoghan on his personal journey, which moves the film into fiction.
To rate the film is an even bigger challenge as it is totally different to anything else in the cinema at the moment. It won’t be to everybody’s taste and while it is beautifully shot and the use of archive footage is interesting, the story didn’t grip me and there wasn’t enough dialogue to keep the film moving along so it became tedious at times.
I can appreciate how well the film was made; the camerawork and sound are excellent, and while others may love the film for what it is, it just didn’t do it for me.