Glasgow Film Festival 2021: Voice of Silence Review

So for the last of the films I saw at the Glasgow Film Festival, I wanted to watch another Korean film, given that there was a focus on Korean cinema at the festival and, looking at what was on offer, this stood out to me. On paper this looked like a really good dark comedy, but on the whole I did find it a bit disappointing.

The film focuses on Chang-bok and Tae-in who work as a clean up crew for a crime organisation. One day, they are ordered to take care of a kidnapped 11 year old girl whilst waiting for a ransom, with the responsibility going to the mute Tae-in. However, the person who ordered the two to look after the girl is killed and this leaves the two struggling on what to do. Now what I found to work about the film was the dark comedy. There are some great comedic moments focusing on the mundane details of the crimes, like negotiating the ransom and arranging the clean ups logistically. These moments of dark comedy are when the film shines but when it focuses more on the emotional element it doesn’t quite work. There is a solid idea of the bond being created between Tae-in and the kidnapped Cho-hee, but I never really bought into their relationship. It also means that the changes that happen to the characters at the end never really worked for me and I did end up thinking the ending was a bit abrupt.

The performances meanwhile are pretty solid. Yoo Ah-in as Tae-in has a pretty tricky task having to sell the emotional depth of the character without any dialogue and he does a really good job. The subtle changes in his facial expressions work well for this and at no point was it unclear what the character was feeling. Yoo Jae-myung as Chang-bok meanwhile sells most of the dark comedy in the film through the contrast of his overtly polite personality and the darkness of what is going on around him, whilst also showing a more contemplative side through his religious beliefs. The other performers are solid throughout but it is the work that the two leads do that makes the film work.

Overall, I found Voice of Silence to be an okay film. When the dark comedy of the film is at the forefront it is a solid film, but for me the emotional side of things didn’t work as well, which did ultimately drag the film down in my estimation. There is enough in here for it to be worth a watch, but on the whole it is nothing more than okay.

My Rating: 3.5/5

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