Making his feature debut, Swiss-born writer-director Baran bo Odar has turned Jan Costin Wagner's 2007 novel The Silence into a taut, beautifully acted thriller. In July 1983 Peer and Timo (Ulrich Thomsen and Wotan Wilke Möhring), drive into the German countryside. They see a little girl, later identified as Pia, riding her bike. Peer, the older of the two men, chases the girl into a wheat field and then rapes and strangles her. Timo, paralyzed with fear or horror or both, never leaves the car. Flash forward to present day. A girl named Sinikka is missing, having been snatched from the exact spot where the first girl was killed, prompting the disgraced detective from the original case (Burghart Klaussner) to come out of retirement, even as the current detective (Sebastian Blomberg) struggles to focus through the blur of grief he's feeling over the death of his wife. The suspense comes not only from the race to find Sinikka but also from the investment one makes in the emotional disintegration we see taking place inside every person associated with the case, from the killers to the cops to the parents of both girls, all of whom we come to know so intimately that one thinks of them for days afterward.
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