Ulrich Thomsen

The Silence (2010, Baran bo Odar)

There’s always something to be said for a new approach to a standard genre. The Silence is a murder mystery, kind of a cold case one, kind of not, kind of serial killer, kind of not. Director bo Odar tries really hard in the end to give the film a singular ending and he fails. Once the third act is underway, it all of a sudden becomes entirely predictable.

All of these predictable events are entirely realistic and digestible… they just aren’t necessarily for the film to succeed. The film is almost entirely amazing for the first ninety minutes, stumbles a bit–but on to steady ground–then bo Odar just keeps going and going until he’s exhausted it. The weary cast members all get a montage at the end. It makes sense, but doesn’t work.

The film doesn’t have a central protagonist. Sebastian Blomberg plays a crack detective who is a recent widower and no one thinks he’s up to the task of solving a resurfaced serial killer. Except his now retired boss (Burghart Klaußner) and erstwhile partner (Jule Böwe). Poor Böwe gets bo Odar’s greatest disservice in some odd misogyny–the only female cop, it turns out she’s only good for supportive hugs.

Good performances from Wotan Wilke Möhring and Claudia Michelsen too. Everyone’s good, it’s just bo Odar shows his hand too much to make The Silence seem different. Then it’s not.

Wonderful photography from Nikolaus Summerer.

bo Odar’s an excellent director. He just tries too hard.



Directed by Baran bo Odar; screenplay by bo Odar, based on the novel by Jan Costin Wagner; director of photography, Nikolaus Summerer; edited by Robert Rzesacz; music by Michael Kamm and Kris Steininger; production designers, Christian M. Goldbeck and Yesim Zolan; produced by Frank Evers, Jantje Friese, Maren Lüthje, Florian Schneider and Jörg Schulze; released by NFP Marketing & Distribution.

Starring Sebastian Blomberg (David Jahn), Burghart Klaußner (Krischan Mittich), Jule Böwe (Jana Gläser), Oliver Stokowski (Matthias Grimmer), Wotan Wilke Möhring (Timo Friedrich), Claudia Michelsen (Julia Friedrich), Karoline Eichhorn (Ruth Weghamm), Roeland Wiesnekker (Karl Weghamm), Katrin Saß (Elena Lange) and Ulrich Thomsen (Peer Sommer).

The Thing (2011, Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.)

The big problem with The Thing, besides it being pointless (though it needn’t be), is its stupidty. While van Heijningen is a perfectly mediocre director, he doesn’t know how to add mood or make something disturbing. Some of it probably isn’t his fault… I can’t see him caring about the addition of Eric Christian Olsen’s third wheel in the romantic chemistry between Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton, for example. It’s just the filmmakers in general. They aren’t bright.

For example, who casted Olsen as a smart guy in the first place? He’s clearly not smart. Poor Winstead and Edgerton try–and Winstead can sell the scientist pretty well–but they’re stuck in a terrible cast. Ulrich Thomsen’s mad scientist belongs in a Roger Corman knockoff.

The filmmakers seem to understand they shouldn’t be telling the story of some Norwegians in English, but whenever the Norwegians panic, they speak English. That detail seems somewhat nonsensical.

If The Thing were a traditional sequel or prequel (i.e. coming within ten years of the original), it might concern developing the original’s mythology. But coming almost thirty years later, with zero participation from the original filmmakers, it’s not… it’s a potential (and thankfully failed) franchise starter.

It could have been neat though, since it’s essentially a remake of the original Thing from Another World in terms of plot. Sadly, it’s not neat. It’s terrible and cheap.

Eric Heisserer’s script is asinine.

Watching it, I just felt bad for Winstead. She’s too classy for it.



Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.; screenplay by Eric Heisserer, based on a story by John W. Campbell Jr.; director of photography, Michel Abramowicz; edited by Peter Boyle, Julian Clarke and Jono Griffith; music by Marco Beltrami; production designer, Sean Haworth; produced by Marc Abraham and Eric Newman; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Kate Lloyd), Joel Edgerton (Sam Carter), Ulrich Thomsen (Dr. Sander Halvorson), Eric Christian Olsen (Adam Finch), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Derek Jameson), Paul Braunstein (Griggs), Trond Espen Seim (Edvard Wolner), Kim Bubbs (Juliette), Jørgen Langhelle (Lars), Jan Gunnar Røise (Olav), Stig Henrik Hoff (Peder), Kristofer Hivju (Jonas), Jo Adrian Haavind (Henrik), Carsten Bjørnlund (Karl), Jonathan Walker (Colin) and Ole Martin Aune Nilsen (Matias).

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