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on 4 August 2013
The Silence of Lorna is less "perfect" than some of the other Dardennes' films, but it is as haunting as any, I think. The problem is with the basic premise of the plot, which has Lorna agreeing upfront to the bumping off of junky Claudy once he has served his purpose. You feel the film tries not to point this up too much but it is there, built in to the structure. It's really the story of her redemption, so that without this starting point there would be nothing to redeem, but its extremity does make for a certain awkwardness artistically, as we have to leave open some sense that she is on a knife-edge and not downright evil. However it does veer to the latter when you think about what she is actually going along with.
The best bit of the film is Jeremie Renier's outstanding performance as Claudy. How does he manage to be so convincing, so heartrending in his neediness? It is absolutely staggering, and I can never watch him in this film without being close to tears. Arta Dobroshi is also very good in the main role, and she also becomes strangely moving towards the end of the film - then you realise that subtly there were signs of real caring in her manner earlier on, which the actress suggests very well, because it has to be something the character is not really aware of. It is too late in one sense, but is it too late for her spiritual redemption? It seems to suggest that grace is infinite, and as such the film touches the sublime, albeit out of a flawed initial premise.