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on 23 March 2013
I could not find a DVD in English for this superb British thriller made in 2010 so I had to purchase this Dutch import. The trouble is that if your only language is English it is not always easy to find out how to get rid of foreign language subtitles unless you speak the language of those subtitles and know what setting to use. In the case of this particular DVD I found out by trial and error that the setting to turn off the subtitles is the last word on the bottom line of the title screen.

Anyway, it is a tense, very well made thriller about an 18 year old deaf girl living in Bristol who witnesses a woman being run down by a car which then reverses over her and when she turns out to be a policewoman working in the local drugs squad this has severe repercussions for the girl, her family and everyone around her. This is made complicated by the fact that her father, played by the excellent Douglas Henshall, is head of the drugs squad and when his daughter finally tells him about what she saw he takes it upon himself to carry out an investigation which leads him to realising that some cops in his squad are corrupt. The trouble is that he doesn't know who is bent and who is not, so who can he get to help him get to the bottom of what is happening? When the bent coppers find out he is closing in on them they try to frame him so he looks like the person who looks corrupt and unhinged by the strain he is under.

Douglas Henshall, as ever, is great in the leading role and he is very ably supported by Hugh Bonneville, Dervla Kirwan, Gina McKee and others. Genevieve Bask, in her first role as the deaf girl who has recently been fitted with a cochlea implant to help her hear is a revalation. Her portrayal of toughness, vulnerability and confusion in a hearing world that she struggles to cope with is very well done. The excitement builds up nicely when the bent coppers find out that there was a witness to the murder who must be silenced and the tempo increases leading to the shattering climax when everything comes to light.
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A tour de force by Genevieve Barr, who is herself deaf. She plays teen Amelia, resenting parental pressure to steer her from the use of sign language towards lipreading. They also insist she attaches an inplant which fills her head with distracting noises. (Initially we share her alternating worlds of silence and discordant sounds, immediately well able to understand her frustration.)

Exercising the dog one night, she witnesses a murder and is terrified that the killer saw her. Her uncle is a senior police officer, surely able to sort everything out. Instead he discovers corruption rife in the Drug Squad, villains in it now determined to discredit him and harass the whole family.

Four hour-long episodes. Douglas Henshall, Hugh Bonneville, Dervla Kirwan and Gina McKee all impress. Sadly some plot contrivances cheapen the impact. (Two branches of the family are warned they are in great danger, there a need to exercise the greatest care. What does a son do? Go out that night to smoke weed with his mates, playing into the hands of bent cops following his every move.)

For some another disappointment may be the sudden ending. Although it is clear where all is now heading, an extra scene or two would not have come amiss - simply to clarify and to wrap everything up more neatly.

Such reservations aside, there is much to applaud - especially Genevieve Barr's performance.

No bonuses. (Do not be put off by the Dutch Language packaging. All is in English, with Dutch subtitles available if required.)
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on 15 May 2014
This was quite interesting and made one think about the challenge of deafness. There were clear dilemmas for the surrounding family. Worth watching and the Drama unfolds quickly and sets a great pace.
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on 19 May 2016
This would have been a four star review had it not been for the lack of a credible ending...no make that any kind of ending!! Just darkening the screen and running credits does not an ending make!! Shame on you writers for not coming back from lunch!
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on 2 August 2013
one of the best dramas from the BBC for ages and ages, great performances throughout. I just wish this was available as a proper UK release.
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on 23 August 2014
Deservedly called a thriller. It really was edge of seat viewing.

Amelia is a deaf girl who is undergoing therapy for hearing treatment. During which time, it's convenient for her to stay with her uncle - who is a DCI - and his family near Bristol. She witnesses a murder one evening when walking their dog. It turns out that the police are involved and the uncle, who has been put in charge of the case, goes out on a limb and breaches procedure to protect Amelia. From there the action spirals as the families are slowly drawn in to the drama, and danger.

Gina McKee is splendid as Amelia, no cheesy sentimental characterisation, but gritty realism - a typical teenager! Likewise with the rest of the cast, it's warts and all with a super performance from everyone.

Great acting, good plot and taut dialogue. The ending is a little abrupt and I do wish there had been more final detail but other than that, if you enjoy thrillers then give it a go. Highly recommended.
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“The Silence” – a British thriller in four parts – was shown on British television (BBC) and released on DVD in 2010. Here is some basic information about it:

** Writer: Fiona Seres
** Director: Dearbhla Walsh
** Run time: 4 x 59 minutes = 236 minutes

The cast includes the following:

** Genevieve Barr as Amelia “Mills” Edwards
** Hugh Bonneville as Chris Edwards – Amelia’s father
** Gina McKee as Anne Edwards – Amelia’s mother

** Douglas Henshall as Jim Edwards – Amelia’s uncle
** Dervla Kirwan as Maggie Edwards – Jim’s wife

** Harry Ferrier as Tom Edwards – older son of Jim and Maggie
** Tom Kane as Joel Edwards – younger son of Jim and Maggie
** Rebecca Oldfield as Sophie Edwards – daughter of Jim and Maggie

“The Silence” has an unusual and interesting angle: the leading character is a young deaf girl, who witnesses the murder of a female police officer in Bristol; her uncle Jim is the police detective in charge of the murder investigation.

Once Jim discovers that his niece witnessed the murder that he is investigating, he is caught in a dilemma: on one hand he wants to use her as a witness; on the other hand he does not want to put her in any danger because of her testimony.

Amelia is deaf, but she has just received a cochlear implant, which means that she is able to hear to a certain extent when she is wearing her facilitator. But the world of sound is new to her. She is in the process of learning how to cope in a world of sounds and noises. This is not easy.

The fact that the leading character is deaf is emphasized in several ways in the thriller:

(1) Sometimes there is no sound at all. This is to illustrate how the world feels to Amelia when she is not wearing her facilitator. At other times the sound is muffled and distorted. This is to illustrate how the world feels to Amelia when she is wearing her facilitator.

(2) The cochlear implant is controversial. Anne wanted Amelia to have it, so she would be able to hear, just like “normal” people. Amelia herself did not ask for it. She was OK with being deaf and using sign language. Chris did not want to get involved in the conflict. Now when Amelia has the implant, she finds it difficult to use. She is not happy with it. Often she removes the facilitator and returns to the world that she knows: the world of silence.

(3) Amelia knows how to sign. She is also able to read lips. This means that she may be able to find out what people are saying when they have been recorded on a CCTV camera. Once Jim finds out that his niece can read lips, he wants to use her in his investigation. He shows her some CCTV recordings and asks her to tell him what the people are saying. But doing this is dangerous, because he is using a family member to do official police work. In addition, he is hiding a witness from the police. If this comes out, it may endanger his career as a police officer.

I do not wish to spoil the viewing for anyone. Therefore I am not going to reveal too much about what is happening in this thriller. If you want to know what happens to Amelia and the people around her, you will have to watch the drama all the way to the end.

What do reviewers say about it? On IMDb it has a rating of 74 per cent, which corresponds to (almost) four stars on Amazon. Here on Amazon there are 34 reviews of this product. The average rating is four stars. I understand the positive reviews. I also understand why the average ratings do not go all the way to the top. “The Silence” is in many ways a great thriller, but it has some flaws.

Some of them I can mention here:

(1) Amelia is only 18, but she drinks alcohol and smokes a lot. She is the leading character in the thriller. We are supposed to like and support her, but when she drinks alcohol and smokes she is not very likeable.

(2) Amelia is careless. When walking a dog, she sits for a while on a bench in the park. While sitting on the bench she removes her facilitator and places it on the bench next to her (instead of putting it in her pocket). When the dog suddenly runs off, she runs after it, leaving the facilitator on the bench!

(3) Tom, Joel and Sophie do drugs, even though they are the children of a police officer. Their father must have told them a hundred times that they cannot do something like this, because this will endanger his career.

(4) Sophie’s boyfriend is a drug dealer. How can she have a boyfriend who is a drug dealer? How can Jim not know about this?

(5) Jim suspects that there is corruption in the drug division of his police station, so he advises his family to stay together in their home. But the oldest son Tom leaves the family in order to visit a friend. During the night, Tom and his friend do drugs and fall asleep. The next morning the drug squad shows up and catches them red-handed. How can Tom be so stupid?

(6) In one emotional scene Jim and Amelia meet each other. He hugs her and says: “I am so happy to see you.” But he says this while hugging her, and this means that she cannot hear him, because she cannot see his face. Jim is talking to us (the audience). We can hear him talking, but of course Amelia cannot, because she is deaf, which is an important part of the story.

He should have hugged her and then he should have let her go and looked at her when he said he was happy to see her. If he is looking at her, she can read his lips and understand what he says. How can the director commit a mistake like this?

There are a few additional flaws, but I cannot go into detail about them without revealing too much.

I like this thriller and I want to give it a good rating, but I have to remove one star because of the flaws mentioned above. Therefore I think it deserves a rating of four stars.

PS. Genevieve Barr was born in 1985. When she plays the role of Amelia, she does not pretend to be deaf. She is deaf. In this thriller (her first major role) she performs very well.
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on 20 December 2016
Good series, good story line and fine acting by a stellar cast.

However, production-wise, I felt that the soundtrack left something to be desired, especially as the only subtitles were in Dutch. I had some difficulty understanding some of the dialogue, and a bit like the subject, needed my lipreading abilities to assist. A clearer soundtrack would have eliminated that issue.

I also felt that the last episode left something to be desired. They made a few nips and tucks, a little jump here and there to finish it off in the allotted time. Not very elegant. I think that it could have been handled better.
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on 24 August 2015
Amazing how the writer can create so many stupidly irritating and irrational characters. This was very annoying to watch. Most of the actors do the best with what they have, some excelled with their own wooden/hammy acting. Don't bother with this - there are so many other better options from the UK, Nordic Noir, France, Belgium etc. If you want Douglas Henshall, watch Shetland and Collision, and be happy to stop there
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on 27 September 2014
Good Cop/Crime Thriller with an interesting and different twist however the unsatisfying too abrupt unresolved ending spoils the entire things.. Shame this was almost excellent.
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