Monday, 30 September 2013

Silent Cry


In the run up to the DVD release of Julian Richards' Shiver, MVD Entertainment will rerelease his 2002 crime thriller Silent Cry at the end of next month.

Rachel Stewart is over the moon when she bares her first child. But when she is told only hours later that her newborn son Charlie has mysteriously died, a mother’s dream becomes a mother’s nightmare as her world collapses. Adamant that something sinister has come into play and that Charlie is still alive, Rachel follows her maternal instincts to search for answers, and finds a painful, dark truth on the way.

The chase is racy and attentive and the scriptwriting direct and well-controlled, entwining themes of betrayal, abduction and conspiracy whilst avoiding the usual pitfalls of wasting time with unnecessary plot twists and turns.

But Richards offers us more than a conventional, cut-to-the-chase crime thriller; Taking the reigns of 20th century cinematic social realism, Silent Cry addresses the ills of urban society as the underclass adopt the prostitutes, drug addicts, lager louts and the typical ‘street trash’ labels that go with it, whilst the real wrongdoers stand protected behind the name of the law. It’s by no means a truly provocative statement, but it helps to revoke the gritty, smutty landscape of the urban underworld of London and, if nothing else, does wonders to provoke a nostalgic TV cop drama feel – despite turning it on its head. After all, everybody loves a plot at the hands of a corrupt cop or a deceitful doctor.

Batting for a single mother woman who has lost her baby is often easy as pie, and here, Emily Woof ensures it’s a doddle. Throwing everything she has into the desperate but determined character of Rachel, Woof is able to strike an admiral balance of the sympathetic, maternal figure and the gutsy, nothing-to-lose heroine – a female character not undeserved of the occasional air punch.

Though the acting sometimes creeps into squally soap opera territory, Woof’s performance is matched by a strong supporting role from Douglas Henshall, whose character as the goodwilled former-homeless cleaner Daniel that helps Rachel, wins us over and makes for an unlikely but interesting straggly-haired hero. TV legends Clive Russell (Great Expectations, The 13th Warrior) and Kevin Whately (Inspector Morse), as well as Craig Kelly (Titanic) also make up Richards’ star studded cast.

Not forgetting that Richards’ work was more classified within the thriller and drama genres at this time in his career, there’s nothing particularly gory in Silent Cry. Gun shots, a stab in the back (literally and metaphorically) and a walk down prostitute alley is about as graphic as it gets. Its brutality is instead more visceral and lies in the mystery surrounding the baby’s whereabouts and the harrowing situation of a mother without her only child.
VERDICT: Effective, haunting and full of suspense from beginning to end, this well-rounded production certainly warrants a thriving comeback at the end of the year.
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