Film Review: Silent River

There is probably no term in the cinephile dictionary which is more regularly misused than that of ‘Lynchian’. Referencing the work of David Lynch, it has become a lazy descriptor for anything that’s a bit different from the norm. Any film which is strange or odd. Difficult to comprehend or refuses to let the audience have any easy answers. Very few films actual merit this label. Silent River is most definitely one.

Elliot (West Liang) has only one thing on his mind and that’s to reconcile with his estranged wife, Julie (Amy Tsang). It has become and all-consuming obsession. As she won’t return his calls, he drives through the desert to meet her. When she rebuts his approach, he falls into a downward spiral. This all changes when he meets Greta (Tsang), a woman who seems to harbour mysteries abilities and has a dark secret of her own.

Silent River works best when it’s keeping its audience at arm’s length. Using music very cleverly, along with some striking cinematography from Norbert Shieh, we’re immersed in a dreamlike alternative reality. One where you’re never quite sure what is real and what is something else entirely. Writer/Director Chris Chan Lee’s film works best when it’s at its most inscrutable. Although Silent River never really delivers on the pay off, it an interesting ride.  

Silent River opens theatrically in LA on 14 October before joining VOD on 25 October.

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