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From the London Film Festival: Wrath of Silence Review

A young boy is herding his sheep in the mountains in China. When he fails to return home, his mute father goes looking for him. His father is already disliked by his village and the mafia who control the nearby mining operations in the mountains due to his refusal to sign away his land, costing the community a hefty compensation pay-out. The father is, however, a fighter. He does not give up easily and soon ends up embroiled in a kidnapping plot.

Wrath of Silence is an excellent Chinese thriller. It walks a taut line between a brutally realist depiction of poverty in the Chinese mountains and a highly camp mafia action movie. Shots of bodies being hidden in caves amongst the jagged rocks are in extreme contrast to the bright colours of the main mafia leader’s headquarters/butcher shop. Yet these disparate elements work well, individually and together. The drama gives heft to the action.

The pacing is initially deliberate but really escalates to a relentlessly emotional climax. The cinematography is beautiful, occasionally stark, other times sumptuous. The action scenes are usually brutal though sometimes comic (where do the bad guys keep finding all of these metal poles?). Performances tend to be understated, which adds gravity to the sillier conceits of the story.

Anyone who particularly enjoys the excellent thrillers coming out of South Korea, should see Wrath of Silence. It’s an exhilarating and deeply affecting thriller.

4 / 5