Release Date: July 31, 2009
Genre: Crime Drama
Runtime: 105 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Executive Producer: Oliver Bronckart
Writer: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com
Lorna is a young Albanian immigrant living in Belgium. She and her boyfriend Sokol, a migrant worker, want to open a snack bar, so she pretends to be married to a recovering drug addict named Claudy to get her Belgian citizenship. As part of the plan, however, the mobster who hired Lorna wants to give Claudy a fatal drug overdose, so that the mobster can sell his Belgian identity papers to a Russian mobster. This diabolical scheme is upset when Lorna begins to feel sympathetic toward Claudy. Will the mob boss and her boyfriend be able to keep Lorna in line and maintain her silent cooperation? A plot twist in the third act further complicates the issue.
The details in the criminal scheme and the dialogue in LORNA’S SILENCE are sometimes unclear. Also, Claudy is at times annoying, demanding or whiny, so Lorna’s change in attitude does not seem completely believable. Finally, there’s no real chemistry or background story to her and her boyfriend’s relationship. All this leads to an anti-climactic, unsatisfying ending that’s open ended.
Part of the problem with this movie may be that, while Lorna’s efforts to save Claudy from being murdered are certainly morally commendable, the movie’s depressing humanist elements undercut any feelings of inspiration that viewers may glean from such morality. That’s because, in the final analysis, morality has to have a transcendent, eternal foundation, and the God of the Bible is the best way humanity has found for such a foundation. Ultimately, the heroine in this movie, Lorna, is a lost soul because she has no religious foundation to focus her morality, but the movie’s humanist worldview seems to prevent that conclusion from even being a possibility.
At the end of LORNA’S SILENCE, Lorna is a creature lost alone in a wilderness without God, and there is little hope of deliverance other than her own human will. A better filmmaker, especially one with a spiritual foundation resting on God, could have taken this story and dug deeper. As it is, however, LORNA’S SILENCE is ultimately unimpressive and depressing rather than inspiring and provocative. Its award from the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for best screenplay is perplexing.
LORNA’S SILENCE also contains brief excessive nudity and brief foul language.
The details in LORNA’S SILENCE are sometimes unclear, and the ending is anti-climactic, open ended and unsatisfying. Also, the characters are not appealing, although Lorna eventually tries to do the right thing. Her moral awakening is marred, however, by a humanist worldview that leads to the movie’s open-ended, unsatisfying last scene. LORNA’S SILENCE also includes brief excessive nudity and brief foul language.