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Customer reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
Silent Tongue (1992) [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£8.06+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 16 January 2014
There are plenty of reviews here which could sway readers into believing this is a terrible film. There is no point arguing about viewers specific personal preferences in any type or genre of cinema, only to say that Sam Shepard is a great American playwright, even before he was a well known actor, and in this film, it appears to me that he was greatly moved when he worked with Terrence Malick on DAYS OF HEAVEN back in the 1970's.

Now this is in no way a comparison between this film and any of the great films of Malick, but certainly visually and the way it presents a far from stereotyped vision of the American west, it must be said that this film is wonderful. Shepard has transferred his theatrical background into a travelling carnival, and this is the centre of everything that evolves into this films story. The story? Yes there is a story, but not a conventional one. This film is about grieving, and the madness of grieving and not be able to let go. It is also about revenge and the effect of loss not only on those who have lost someone, but those who inevitably will loose someone because of their actions. And yes, even I, who loves this film agrees with the criticism that Alan Bates' speech is slurred, but after all he is playing a drunken irish snake oil salesman, and it is his form of drunken guilt filled madness that makes his character so unlikeable. Both Richard Harris and the late River Phoenix are brilliant together as father and son. It is Harris' journey into his sons madness that makes this film so emotional. Jeri Arrendondo as the sister of Phoenix's deceased wife deserves special mention also as she is the thread that drives all the other characters actions. Tantoo Cardinal appears all to briefly, especially considering she plays the title character, and the most obvious bow to theatre is the dead wife/ghost played by Sheila Tousey.

In the end, like Malicks films, people are just a small part of a landscape, as perfectly presented by a small character credited as the 'the lone man( with wheelbarrow') that appears only twice but at important times during the story.

And so finally for this review of such a fine film on DVD I must make the most important point. Correct aspect ratio. For the first time Silent Tongue is presented in the correct widescreen ratio of 2.35:1. In a film about torment figures lost in a landscape this is the most important thing about this DVD you really need to know. Everything else is just personal emotion based interpretations.
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on 27 December 2014
not great.avoid
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on 17 January 2015
Love it,thanks again.
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on 9 July 2014
It total rubbish
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on 4 July 2013
The story was a bit weak and very much into the spiritual side. I was rather hoping that is was going to offer more of a story.
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on 12 November 2009
i bought this film over 9 months ago because i read the first review and it looked a good addition to my western collection , i watched 15 minutes and turned it off it has sat on the shelf ever since . i have to agree with the second review whole heartedly im afraid its that bad i doubt it will ever be seen on tv .
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on 31 October 2011
A strange movie with an purcular storyline.Hard to follow what is going on in movie.Good acting by River Phoenix and Dermot Mulroney,Like images and words that are " secret"?
Almost has good has silent movie ,good expressions ,but the irish accent by River - terrible! aaahhh
Looks good,but let down by sound/words accents.
Looks good ,but whats going on????Do we care?
Well yes,we bought it we want to know,don't we,why so secret.
Whats your prob ...Riv ..not convincing Irish accent!Good character expressions,wardrobe etc..
Better acting by the rest of cast- co stars!
Dissapointing ,acting River!- What was you thinking...?
Could have been better.
Sam Shepherd bad directing.
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on 19 April 2012
This western starts well enough with good scenery and a travelling carnival show, but quickly goes downhill with a implausible story. Alan Bates' terrible accent is hard to make out when he's not talking nonsense. The ghost indian character is hard to tell if it's in the imagination or really there. Some of the the characters have no point as to be only weird, like the old man with the long nails or the guy pushing the wheelbarrow. Can't see which target audience they were aiming for with this one unfortunatly. Overall, one to avoid!
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on 5 July 2014
Delighted with my purchase and the very fast delivery
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 December 2010
Surely a film written and directed by Pulitzer prize winner Sam Shepard, starring those fine actors Richard Harris and Alan Bates, with the added poignancy of being the last performance by River Phoenix before his premature death, had to be worth watching. Sadly a great pedigree does not always result in a fine film. There are occasions like this one, that the final product is simply a load of old cobblers. How such talent manages this is quite beyond me. Shepherd attempts to make a revisionist type western in the same vein as Jim Jamrmusch's much better "Dead Man", with elements of the Greek tragedy, but these noble intentions simply crash and burn.

The story concerns a young man who is sent into madness by the death of his Indian wife. Think Achilles and Patroclus type grieving. His father kidnaps the sister of his sons dead wife from a travelling show, like you do, as a replacement for the dead woman, like you do, to assuage his grief and in the hope of snapping him out of his temporary insanity. Matters are complicated by the nasty spirit of the dead woman, and the cold hearted father and brother of the kidnapped woman, who attempt to track her down. It would be normal now for me now to say that things head to the inevitable confrontation, but that would be telling a big fat porky pie, as in fact it heads to an emphatic nothingness. The only good thing about the film is the setting in the Llano Estacado, or as it was named by the Spanish, the Staked Plains, because the land was so featureless that they drove in stakes along their early exploratory routes so that they did not get lost. The old ball of string trick on a bigger scale! But unfortunately the emptiness of the landscape simply becomes a metaphor for the hollowness of the film.

Phoenix gets no opportunity to act in his limited screen time. He merely contorts his face to the sky on a few occasions in an overt act of grief. Alan Bates wanders around in a bizarre outfit, looking as if he has escaped from the set of "Priscilla Queen of the Desert". His sqawking attempt at an Irish accent begins to grate after a while, and you will begin to wish that the Kiowa's will despatch him quickly to shut him up. No one could accuse Richard Harris of a poor Oirish accent, and he does in fact acquit himself quite well. The only cast member with the required gravitas to do so. The appearance of the ghost/spirit is also a little disconcerting. Are they dreaming her? Is she real or imaginary? Search me! What is that ending all about? If this is what revisionist westerns are all about then count me out. The film unsurprisingly disappeared at the box office, and has only recently been released to DVD. They really needn't have bothered. The film is better off being consigned back to the spirit world of rubbish films. Oh, and can someone please tell me what that weird frozen like stone man with the long nails was all about. Totally weird man, and totally awful. This is a pretty dire offering well worth avoiding. Heed the later reviewers who are telling it straight. Thank goodness they don't seem to make them like this any more, something we should truly be thankful for. A generous two stars, as it is a western and contains some nice scenery.
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