All crime stories have similar components: questionable characters, secrets kept, and a hero dedicated to stopping it. Establishing these parts look easy enough but watching any bad crime film quickly reveals how hard it is to execute. Such is the case for The Silence of the Marsh.
The film focuses on the life of a crime writer (Pedro Alonso) who is consumed with frustration at the workings of the world. After his first murder, he develops a craving for it, eventually seeing himself as a vigilante hero who must take down the corruption of the Valencian government. After seeing a politician accused of corruption on the news, he decides to kidnap him, leading him deeper into the secrets shrouding the government.
At the beginning of the film, the protagonist is seen lurking in front of a field, consumed by the flying flock of birds. He is surrounded by reeds. With the allegory of reeds and eels peppered throughout the film, the opening shot is crucial to set the tone. As the shot lingers on him too long, it also reveals one of the biggest issues of the film itself.
The film’s editing issue is not apparent at first. The first few scenes of the film are paced reasonably. In the case of the opening shot, it seemed like a minor issue that can be forgiven. As the film carries on, I felt that some scenes are much longer than they needed to be. The lack of any tension or action in some scenes felt like dead weight, best left in the editing room. At 92 minutes, this film is considered short in most respects, but it felt much longer than it was.
In its last moments, the two most interesting characters of the film finally meet in a final showdown. The protagonist and the antagonist battling it out to the death; one would imagine that the resulting action is poignant and gory. However, it was easily, unsatisfyingly resolved. The result is a quick execution of the only character that seems to stand a chance against the protagonist. It is just plain boring.
The film has potential, especially in its characters who bring their own vitality to the film, with the actors doing their best in portraying them. However, the fundamental issues on writing and editing skews the film to a territory that makes it boring and challenging to watch. The Silence of the Marsh has a captivating concept but fumbles in its execution.
The Silence of the Marsh is streaming on Netflix.