SILENCIO ** Mexico 2018 Dir: Lorena Villarreal 98 mins
This starts off in the 1970’s as a couple of scientists investigate a rocket that has come down in Mexico. It had crash landed in a desert that has strange magnetic fields which has earned it the name the Zone Of Silence and likened to the Bermuda Triangle. They take a cobalt stone from the wreckage to study further. An accident occurs in the lab involving the stone, Senior Scientist James (John Noble) and his colleague Peter (Rupert Graves) are transported back a few weeks in time to a tragic moment in James’ life. He manages to change the course of time by rescuing one of his Granddaughters just before the rest of his family are killed in a traffic accident.
Fast forward a few decades and James’ Granddaughter Ana is grown up with a son of her own. The knowledge of the stone her Grandfather found and it’s special properties have become known and now James and his family are being blackmailed to disclose its whereabouts. Heart ache, tragedy and betrayal are the centre meanings of this story but the blackmailer has good reasons for his cause. It sounds like a pretty decent thriller on paper but in reality it does not put on a very convincing performance. It gets bogged down by bad dialogue and poorly executed characters. Even John Noble (Lord Of The Rings) cannot save this and comes across as a gibbering lunatic for the most part. Another casting error in my opinion was Hoze Melèndez as the kidnapper. Although he is an adult he looks like he’s about 12, and is constantly nervous, he doesn’t come across as threatening in the slightest in fact it feels like if you threatened to tear up his English homework he would be instantly thwarted.
There is very little action apart from a brief gun fight at the end, none of the tragedies are really shown in any detail just a lot of talking about it afterwards which does tug at your heart strings a bit but even that is a bit boring after a while. There are quite a few character inconsistencies too. For example: it is stated at the start that the cobalt stone should not be handled without gloves but half way through everyone is happily handling it without consequence. Ana seems unable to dig a hole in the ground unaided yet can smash a padlock off a locked box with the shovel with grace and ease. It’s little things like this that really bug me. Switching between Spanish and English forces you to concentrate and the soundtrack is pretty good but badly made props make it a bit of a laughing stock. The cobalt stone is little more then a scrunched up piece of tin foil. It also quotes at the start that this story is inspired by true events. This seems to be a tremendous stretch of imagination. I’m just taking it to mean that this story incorporates a place that exists.
Review by Sarah Budd