The Silent Thief (2012) *1/2
D: Jennifer Clary
C: Toby Hemingway, Cody Longo, Scout Taylor-Compton, Frances Fisher, Kurt Fuller, John Billingsley, Reid Ewing, Josh Pence
Plot Synopsis: A manipulative drifter (Toby Hemingway) worms his way into the lives of an unstable woman and her family whose eldest son is away at college.
Review: In The Silent Thief, we are introduced to the character of Brennan (Hemingway), a young man who wanders about with a camera, studying, observing and watching people. I think that some of these scenes had the potential to be psychologically fascinating, but often enough, I was token out of these scenes by a music score that was over bearing and out of place. Sometimes, less is more.
Brennan rents a room from a family. Almost immediately, there's a chemistry between Brennan and the daughter (Taylor-Compton). In one scene, the daughter explains to Brennan the difficulties that crabs face in life. This scene serves two purposes. One - it allows for the chemistry to develop more so between Brennan and the daughter. Two - it helps to develop one of the film's underlying themes. However, the audio on this scene is hard to hear, even with the volume turned up all the way. And it's not just this scene, but several scenes as well. It's hard to believe that a film with such a talented cast could make such an amateur mistake.
In another scene, we watch as Brennan punches the pillows on his bed in frustration. This is a young man who is keeping some pent up aggression. Yet again, I was token out of the scene by a music score that felt out of place, but what truly hindered the potential of this scene is the film's camera placement. The scene is filmed in a full shot, when a close up would've been more appropriate. We are seeing a character in rage. As a viewer, we need to see some of the sweat that is trickling off the character's face or how their veins are pulsating to fully understand the character's anger.
Eventually, this leads to Brennan engaging in a psychological warfare with the son (Longo) of the family that's he renting a room from. At first, Brennan's approach is subtle. He merely re-positions some of the son's belongings, but then Brennan tries to take the son's place altogether. This is when the film really falls apart.
We watch as Brennan plays cat and mouse with various characters . Some of these scenes come off as unintentionally funny. Some of them are poorly staged and put together. We watch people run around, scream, cry, etc. while the film's over bearing music score blares to an all time high, but we're not done yet. There's not one, but count 'em two plot twists. One of those plot twists comes so far out of left field that it's almost jaw dropping. It's not one of those twists like in The Sixth Sense that helped to bring closure to the film's story, but one of those plot twists that's meant to give the film a boost of adrenaline by surprising people. I will admit it. I was surprised by this development, but I wasn't surprised in a good way.
I caught glimpses of what the film wanted to be. Some scenes that take place between Brennan and a street bum (Billingsley) have an unforced kind of quality to them. They poke around. They explore the various shades of the characters. There's a thoughtfulness to these scenes. John Billingsley is a real revolution in this film. I felt so many different emotions whenever he spoke. I felt pain, angst, even little moments of happiness. John Billingsley proves how wonderful of a character actor he is.
In the first half, I could see that thoughtful kind of quality that the film wanted to bring to the material in developing its characters and the film's suspense from a place that is real and authentic to the characters, but there's so much wrong with The Silent Thief, that it's hard to appreciate what's right. [Not Rated] 102 mins.
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