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Non-Review Review: The Silent Storm

The Silent Storm is an ironic title for this over-produced melodrama.

The Silent Storm is a story about an abusive marriage and an unlikely affair that blossoms on an abandoned Scottish island when a trouble young man is assigned to the care of a fire-and-brimstone minister and the minister’s housekeeper-slash-wife. Inevitably tension mount and passions flair as the three characters dance around each other, with nothing but the craggy cliffs and choral soundtrack to keep them company. For an empty island abandoned to the forces of modernity, there’s a pretty loud choir to keep our three primary characters company.

Let us prey...

Let us prey…

There is an appeal to this sort of dour character study. Writer and director Corinna McFarlane has cast two great actors in the lead roles of her first narrative feature; Damien Lewis and Andrea Riseborough are perfectly suited to this depressive melodrama, as a couple trapped in a repressive and abusive marriage with simmering tensions. The problem is the McFarlane never pitches the film at the right level. For a harrowing story of abuse and violence, the film frequently trips into self-parody.

Part of the fault rests with Lewis and Riseborough, who turn their performances up to eleven to match the production around them. However, a lot of the blame falls to McFarlane, who is utterly unwilling to let any moment stand on its own without pushing the theme or the mood to breaking point. The result is a film that struggles to find the right tone and so occasionally feels like a postmodern ironic deconstruction of the genre into which it is trying to fit.

Passion project...

Passion project…

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