A tough-cookie Canuck cop follows the youthful killer of her hubby and child all the way to the Argentinean-Bolivian border in “Another Silence.” But as the title suggests, vet screenwriter-turned-helmer Santiago Amigorena’s soph feature isn’t an edge-of-your-seat thriller. Instead, as in his directorial debut, “A Few Days in September,” a rigorous attention to quotidian and pragmatic details makes what on paper might sound like an exciting chase feel both more real and, inadvertently, more boring. Though filmed in widescreen, smallscreen consumption will likely offer greater reach. Pic goes out in Gaul Oct. 19.Early going sets up the family life of Toronto police officer Marie (Quebec thesp Marie-Josee Croze), her husband, Joshua (Benz Antoine), and their kid, Nicky (Aaron Parry). The basic plot is finally put into motion when, one night, father and son are killed by machine-gun fire from a car that stops next to them at a traffic light, captured in an impressively clinical long shot. Instead of throwing herself into mourning, Marie immediately sets out to find the killer, who turns out to be the naive Pablito (Ignacio Rogers), a young Argentinean father related to a drug dealer Marie arrested. After showing she means business — read: she shoots a guy (Luis Oliva) in Toronto to get him to tell her where Pablito went — she’s on her way to South America. By this time, the pic has already switched several times to the story of the restless Pablito, who (unwittingly?) stays one step ahead of Marie. Though the Toronto shooting effectively establishes how fearless and determined the new widow is, it’s misleading in the sense that it seems to foreshadow a femme-driven actioner, while in fact, there’s very little action or even dialogue in the hour or so that remains as Marie traces down the assassin. Details such as where she has to sleep, how she will get from one place to another or what she will eat are rarely seen in chase movies, and add little but an arty verite edge that can’t substitute for character insight. In fact, throughout the film, Marie comes across as the femme equivalent of a silent Western hero driven by revenge, except that she doesn’t get to do any of the cool stuff. When there’s finally a horse in sight, she simply walks past it. During the times her role requires her to be silent and physical, which is almost all the time, Croze (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) impresses, though her awkward English dialogue in the Toronto-set scenes are distracting. But given that there’s nothing going on beyond a simple revenge motive until the final frames, even Croze struggles to develop Marie into a memorable character. The only hint of humanity comes in a confrontation with Lila (Ailin Salas), Pablito’s young wife. Widescreen camerawork is almost all handheld, which at least lends some immediacy to the proceedings. And in contrast with “A Few Days in September,” which wallowed in arty shallow focus, the arid Argentinean landscapes are showcased here in deep focus. Music is sparingly used, which further adds a verite edge. The rest of the tech package is fine.
A Rezo Films (in France)/Seville Pictures (in Canada) release of a Gloria Films, Les Films du Rat, Arte France, Max Films, Rizoma & Zarlek Producciones, Teleimage, Yellow Cab Studios production, in association with Canal Plus, Telefilm Canada. (International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.) Produced by Laurent Lavole, Luc Vandal, Roger Frappier, Natacha Cervi, Hernan Musaluppi, Luis Sartor, Patrick Siaretta, Jerome Merle. Directed by Santiago Amigorena. Screenplay, Amigorena, Nicolas Buenaventura.
Camera (color, widescreen), Lucio Bonelli; editors, Veronique Bruque, Anita Remon; music, Yves Desrossiers; production designers, Andre-Line Beauparlant, Ignacio Luppi; costume designers, Constanza Pierpaoli, Sophie Lefebvre, Isabelle Baudry; sound (Dolby Digital), Catriel Vildosola, Claude La Haye, Marcel Pothier. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Venice Days), Sept. 1, 2011. Running time: 90 MIN.
Marie-Josee Croze, Ignacio Rogers, Tony Nardi, Benz Antoine, Aaron Parry, Ailin Salas. (Spanish, English dialogue)