Eliot (West Liang) is searching for his estranged wife. He’s clearly not happy how things ended between them, but he’s still hopeful that he can pick up where they left off. He stops at a motel in the desert and there he meets Greta (Amy Tsang) who may reveal more of a path to Eliot’s wife than he first realises.
However, as he continues to try and bring back the things into his marriage which were lost so long ago, things start to get stranger and Eliot finds himself lost in it all.
Silent River is an arthouse noir thriller written and directed by Chris Chan Lee which takes its inspiration from a few sources to tell its tale. The story of a man’s journey to put things right for his wife whilst stopping off at an isolated motel may evoke feelings of Christopher Nolan’s Memento. Not to mention Eliot’s tattoos and loner attitude is surely not just a coincidence.
Although, there are other elements that may interest those who are fans of David Lynch and in the end Silent River tries to meld the two.
Unfortunately, it seems that in his pursuit of making a movie which best illustrates his influences, director Lee seems to have forgotten what makes a narrative compelling. There can be something quite satisfying about trying to interpret a movie for yourself and looking through the surface to understand what the director is trying to convey. However, when a director is trying to make the audience stare at awe in their intelligence and film literacy, without something for an audience to grasp on to then they may quickly lose interest.
This becomes increasingly frustrating as the movie decides to delve into another genre entirely which causes the audience to try and adjust their expectations when they’re already so far into the story. All the cast do a good job and Silent River does indeed look beautiful which again may be another tactic to distract the audience from the plot.
However, at the end of the day it feels like it’s all style and no substance.
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