Frances Winston feels that this has great cinematography, but at times is a hard watch – worth a look for Riseborough’s acting alone!
Directed by: Corinna McFarlane
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Damian Lewis, Ross Anderson
Although only hitting our cinemas now, this movie actually dates back to 2014. And no, I haven’t made a mistake with the cast list, as other than the opening scenes, this film pretty much contains only three actors throughout.
Riseborough is Aislin, the mysterious and free-spirited wife of a minister, Balor (Lewis). Living on a remote Scottish Island, they are extremely isolated, and Aislin’s love of nature and alternative medicine is quashed by her husband.
When all the islanders depart to the mainland for work, leaving them all alone bar a 17-year old delinquent who has been sent to them for rehabilitation, the issues which had already been bubbling under the surface of their marriage are highlighted.
When a crazed Balor decides that he will bring his church and all its trappings to the mainland for his former flock, he leaves Aislin and the youngster alone for several days. During this time they bond, but with Balor’s imminent return, they must both decide what they really want from life.
This has taken a while to pick up a distributor, and I can see how it would be a hard sell. Despite good reviews from screenings, and a couple of big name actors in Riseborough and Lewis, there is not much action, and the story is rather heavy at times. McFarlane also wrote the piece, and you can tell that it is close to her heart thanks to the loving direction, but sometimes you can lavish too much love and obsession on a project.
Riseborough is an amazing actress, and hers is probably the most rounded character here. She really brings Aislin to life, and you genuinely feel her pain. Lewis’ performance on the other hand felt extremely OTT to me. The character has no contrasts. There is no shade and light. He starts off at fire and brimstone and never leaves that level. Newcomer Anderson holds his own, and would appear to have a promising future, as he manages to subtly layer the character with both anger and sensitivity.
The cinematography is beautiful. McFarlane has really captured all the elements that make up those remote islands, from extreme weather to the gentle beauty of nature, and it almost makes island life look appealing.
What lets this down at times is she is trying to allow it too much space to breathe. There are huge chunks of silences in which even the actors appear uncomfortable, and these could probably have been cut somewhat. When they do have dialogue, it sometimes feels stilted and forced, and this does detract from the underlying story.
The Silent Storm definitely won’t appeal to everybody. It isn’t an easy watch at times, and it demands full attention, which ultimately leaves you disappointed in your investment.
When this film is good it is brilliant, but when it is bad it is turgid. Not the kind of movie to watch if you are looking for light entertainment, this will probably struggle to find a mainstream audience, but is worth a look if only for Riseborough’s central performance and the cinematography.
In Cinemas Now!