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‘Bay of Silence’ review: Strong performances attempt to carry muddled story

Well shot and strong performances.

Based on a 1986 novel of the same name, The Bay of Silence is a thriller about a couple and their new son. One day, Will (Claes Bang) discovers his wife Rosalind (Olga Kurylenko) has disappeared with their children. This leads to a frantic search and a frightening discovery. Will must confront constant twists and a protective stepfather (Brian Cox) to learn the full truth.

The best word to describe the settings in The Bay of Silence is lavish. The opening is set in a beautiful European village. Ancient architecture and beautiful seasides fill the background. It is the type of beauty found on computer desktop wallpapers. Once the plot moves past the scenic openings, the settings remain in high society. The Bay of Silence seems like it is going to have a melodramatic soap opera like feel. Instead, it focuses on its story and characters.

Kurylenko is great in the role. Initially, she is flirty and playful. As the story progresses, the audience learns more about Rosalind. Kurylenko uses expressions to give further insight into Rosalind. She is the highlight of The Bay of Silence. The story was written in the late 80s, but could have been updated to portray mental health issues in a better light. The Bay of Silence uses them only as a plot device. It is poorly executed and in today’s world comes off as tone deaf.

The plot becomes convoluted pretty quickly. There is a lot in Rosalind’s backstory and seemingly every character in the movie has some involvement. This can be very hard to follow and leads to much guesswork from the audience. The guessing games is less “what is going to happen next?’ and more “how was this person involved in Rosalind’s life?”

 

Kurylenko gives the strongest performance in The Bay of Silence but Will may be the most interesting character. His motivation seem to be constantly shifting. He alternates between seeming to barely care and being consumed by an incident involving his son. It can be very distracting. Even the ending is a little confusing. The audience never gets a feel for how deeply Will has been affected by the ordeal.

There is a strong story to be found in The Bay of Silence. Oddly, it would seem to work best as an erotic thriller. Early on there are some sexually charged scenes. They show off the passion between Will and Rosalind when they first meet. Later, he meets a mysterious woman at his wedding in a plot thread that goes nowhere. There are also lurid reds that lends itself to that genre. The film could have been given stronger sexual overtones while making very few changes to the actual plot.

A thriller that constantly throws twists at audiences is ironically showing its hand. The Bay of Silence is a twist heavy experience that prevents the audience from getting too involved. There are a lot of moving pieces that ultimately leave more questions than answers. Olga Kurylenko gives an impressive performance, but the rest of the movie is undercooked.

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