(Review originally written at 11 October 2008)

This movie is a rather surprising unknown Dutch production, that has a really great atmosphere and one fine, filled with potential, main concept.

What mostly drives this movie is its look and atmosphere, with some nice cinematography as well as good use of old archive footage. It can be described as something coming from a "The Twilight Zone" episode, in which a murder mystery is handled and that constantly makes you question if what the main character is seeing and hearing is real or not. It does this in a realistic way, sort of in the same trend as a M. Night Shyamalan movie.

However this movie just doesn't work out as well as it could had. Like I said the movie features a potentially interesting concept, that could provide the movie with plenty of interesting story elements and tension. Yet it feels like the story is never fully getting off the ground. The movie is constantly building up its tension and mystery but it never delivers. At times it really seemed like the movie was getting there and interesting to watch, for instance when it starts to look like the main character is slowly loosing his sense of reality (just like his deceased uncle) and the line between the real world and imagination becomes really thin but then again, the movie decided to do nothing with it in the end. The movie features more elements just like that. It constantly hints at the supernatural. It builds up all the time with its mystery but it never ever pays of in the end. The entire movie is like one big build up to nothing and the ending leaves far too many loose ends and questions. It's so unrewarding. Here you are watching a well such a good looking movie, with nice settings and a good overall atmosphere but in the end it all feels pointless that you were watching this for 90 minutes because the ending is so unsatisfying. In that regard this movie also is really like a M. Night Shyamalan movie (at least like his most recent work).

Still I'm willing to give the movie somewhat the benefit of the doubt. The concept and the right ideas are there but it's the execution (the storytelling) of it all that is mostly lacking. Still "Het Zwijgen" is an unique and atmospheric Dutch production. The right talent is definitely there but next time (fore the film-makers deserve another shot) they just need to pay a little bit more attention to the story and especially the way of storytelling within the movie.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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