Voice of Silence
Chang-bok (Yoo Jae-myung) and his mute accomplice Tae-in (Burning’s Yoo Ah-in) run a modest business selling eggs and providing clean-up services to crime scenes on the side. The duo’s job is thankless and mundane, but everything changes when they’re asked to babysit a kidnapped girl – capable 11-year-old Cho-hee (Moon Seung-ah) – until her father pays ransom money. They begrudgingly accept and the latter of the two is left to look after her in the squalid rural home he shares with his young sister (Ka-eun Lee). As a bond forms between the pair, their situation worsens in Hong Eui-jeong’s bittersweet and beautifully shot dark comedy Voice of Silence.
All the feature’s anti-heroes want from life is to succeed through honest work. Though they’re involved with the illegal underworld (albeit as janitors) they’re far from being the criminals they do business with. They’re simply good people who get sucked into a bad situation. It’s in this juxtaposition where the Korean director gets the most out of the tender and humorous moments in his film.
Tae-in cares deeply for his sister and begins to view Cho-hee as a sibling, too, although escape is never far from her mind. The familial connections are made all the sweeter by Ah-in’s wondrous, wordless performance and the absolute adorableness from the young actors who steal every scene they’re in. The movie is also fantastically mean-spirited when it comes to its humour. Everything that can go wrong does here despite the older brother’s kind-hearted intentions, leading to amusing misunderstandings and shocking surprises. The result is a constantly twisting plot that will keep viewers gripped from beginning to end.
But it’s the conclusion where things come off the rails. All the consequences of Tae-in’s actions are about to come together after anticipation has been building for how this madcap situation can be resolved. And then the credits roll. Though it’s possible to appreciate the tone of the closing scene, there are simply too many questions left unanswered for this finish to be satisfying. The culmination of the protagonist’s story plays out more like the start of an epilogue that doesn’t exist.
Voice of Silence does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Glasgow Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Glasgow Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Voice of Silence here: