The black sheep of a rural French family steals a rifle and stalks his more level-headed relatives in “The End of Silence,” an intense yet oddly impersonal attempt at staging Greek tragedy among a small circle of working-class characters. Writer-director Roland Edzard, who comes to cinema from a background in painting, approaches the project with grand impressionistic intentions, though the result feels little different from your standard pressure-cooker thriller, with only limited Euro arthouse play ahead.
Edzard seizes the evocative potential of his atmospheric setting — a dense, mist-shrouded outpost high in the Vosges mountains that only just manages to set pic apart. It is here that Jean (volatile non-pro Franck Falise) snaps, thrown out of the house by his family the same day he’s recruited for a hunting party by strangely paternal neighbor Nils (Thierry Fremont). Once Jean gets his hands on a gun, he’s liable to hurt somebody, though pic doesn’t draw the characters distinctly enough for us to care. Instead, Edzard expects auds to intuit the details of a long-kept secret with only body language and action as clues. Less silence, more explanation would have helped.