Based on a 1984 novel by Lisa St Aubin de Teran, The Bay of Silence falls into the category of an adult thriller, a genre largely the province of tv these days, although the likes of Gone Girl and The Girl On the Train pop up to remind us that we love a good twisty-turny plot. Paula van der Oest’s thriller goes to a far darker place than most, but even if the journey is a little tortuous at times, it’s still an edge-of-your-seat drama that keeps you wondering about the motives of all concerned.
Fresh from his stint as the BBC’s Dracula, Claes Bang plays Will Walsh, a businessman who sets up home with Rosalind Pallister (Olga Kurylenko), despite more than a few warnings that’s something’s not right below her super-glam exterior. So when Rosalind vanishes after giving birth, taking their kids with her, and leaving the word LIAR written on the wall of their house, Will finds himself drawn into a web of subterfuge; could the creatively named Milton (Brian Cox) know more than he says? His passion for fire-arms suggests a murky past…
Actress turned screenwriter Caroline Goodall has a number of tricky giallo elements to balance here, particularly since the stakes are serious; the death of a child is key, allegations of sexual abuse and pornography are churned up, and those who seek a cheerful upbeat resolution will be frustrated. But The Bay of Silence will upset a few guys when it comes to depicting men as gas-lighting women, and for once the source material, screen-writer and director are attuned to the issue. Will understands things from a restricted POV, suspecting is wife is mad, and widening his eyes to how Rosalind sees the world is a key part of the story; if you’re only interested in the man’s, man’s world, this story won’t chime. Those broad-minded enough to stay the course will at least get the satisfaction of a complicated denouement that you simply couldn’t guess, despite plenty of clues and red herrings along the way.
This is a dark, adult thriller with a succession of disturbing twists that ensure the viewer is kept guessing right until the final scene, smartly-written and boosted by powerhouse performances from Claes Bang and Oleg Kurylenko. Both have a high public profile, but manage to convince by immersing themselves as grief-ridden characters who don’t have a valve to release their despair. Paula van der Oest’s film delivers when it comes to wicked diversion, and while not in the same league as Gone Girl, it should appeal to an audience starved of serious crime dramas; like Will and Rosalind, you probably won’t see what’s coming down the pike until it’s too late….
Signature Entertainment presents The Bay of Silence in the UK on DVD & Digital HD 28th September 2020.
Thanks to Signature Entertainment for early access to this title.