Note: I was invited as media to screen the film for review purpose. However any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.
SILENCIO starts out with a bit of mystery then leads into scifi that leads in action that leads into more and more. I loved it! The movie has a bit of a fast pace which keeps you invested and wondering what happens next and how what you just saw connects to the new scene.
While there are breaks from complete English scenes to bilingual or full Spanish scenes, it's easy to follow along with the movie subtitles. But really most scenes can be felt and understood visually. The language is a minor issue.
While the films focus is the powerful meteorite stone and it's ability to travel back in time (sorta), it's the relationships that forms and dissolves between the characters as they find, lose and search for the stone, that to me is the real story. We get to see the lengths that people will go through to get something "powerful" and in some scenes it's very tragic. But tragedy isn't the lasting impression of SILENCIO.
Throughout SILENCIO we get a peek into humanity and it's complexity. Humans can do some bad things and be selfish but sometimes it's the selfishness that can preserve what's most important to us and put us on a better path. It's an interesting and well done twist of the film.
To learn more about what went into filming SILENCIO, Lorena Villarreal (Director, Writer and Producer) shared the some behind the scene details.
CASTING THE FILM
“The characters in the script come from all over the world. There were some complexities in the story and some of the characters had to be bilingual and have specific accents because of their origins in the story. I wanted to include the Spanish language in the film, so it would feel more authentic to where the story takes place,” says Lorena Villarreal.
The team did casting calls in multiple countries and found new wonderful talent, as well as terrific seasoned performers.
Rupert Graves (Peter) embodied the character’s charisma and attitude. "As an apprentice and confidant to Dr. James, Graves' character carries a heavy secret for many years. He was perfect for the role because of the quiet confidence Peter possesses," shares Villarreal.
“We were very lucky to find Melina Matthews, she gave her character the depth and intricacies it needed for the story to come alive,” says Villarreal. “We needed a strong female lead who could speak both English with a British accent and Spanish with a Mexican accent fluently. The first time I saw Melina I knew she was the perfect choice.”
“I have always believed a film is built on story and actors. If those two components are strong you have a very good chance of creating something wonderful,” says Villarreal who met a guide with a unique name during one of her visits to the state of Durango, where the Zone of Silence is found.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Walter Bishop, a guide and expert on the Zone of Silence. His name seemed very familiar: Walter Bishop... I knew that name. When I remembered that was John Noble’s character name in the series Fringe, I took it as a sign that he was meant to play Dr. James White.”
THE STORY OF SILENCIO
As a director, Lorena Villarreal knows a great story when she hears one, and (la Zona del Silencio) the Zone of Silence, Mexico provided fascinating tales time and time again.
“We really wanted to focus on the mysteries of all these mysterious occurrences that had no explanations,” says Villarreal. “We did a lot of research, interviewed multiple sources including certified experts to long-living locals.”
Villarreal says she wanted to stay true to some of the facts and tales of the area. Even though there are unknown supernatural elements in the film, the team was able to keep the essence of the Zone of Silence preserved.
“Audiences will be in awe of the Zone of Silence, but they will also be drawn to a story about family and hard choices. Silencio revolves around the life of Ana and her family, and how this powerful stone found in the Zone of Silence will affect their future. It is about love, courage and the unknown,” says Villarreal.
“The central question Silencio asks is “How far would you go to save the ones you love?”
THE LOOK OF SILENCIO: ON LOCATION
“Mexico is such a wonderful country for film production. Most of the locations were in northern Mexico, where it’s rare to see film crews. In Monterrey, Mexico, where we are from, we received so much help from everyone. The city felt they were part of the film and embraced us as their own,” says Villarreal who worked with locals on training in film production to help grow the local industry.
The team had some challenging shots to create the desired effects in the movie.
“To create the missile crash effect at the beginning of the film we had to do it at a specific time of day, which was just before sunset. We only had a few minutes to shoot this and capture the perfect shot. To achieve the special effects we had to transfer the equipment from one part of the desert to another several times. The first time we tried to create the explosion the wind picked up just as the ignition happened, rendering the shot unusable. The next day we were lucky with the winds, so it worked” says Villarreal.
"The aesthetic of the film was worked in different layers. Specific color palettes were selected to use in all forms and details. The film focuses in two time periods, the past and the present. For the past it was important to capture some warmth and for the present a coldness that is translated visually to the audience,” Villarreal also adds
SILENCIO - Official Trailer
In order to save her son’s life, Ana must find a powerful stone her grandfather originally discovered in the Zone of Silence, the “Bermuda Triangle” of Mexico. Throughout her desperate search, Ana stumbles upon long lost family secrets and discovers enemies who believe the stone’s power is worth killing for.
Cast: John Noble, Rupert Graves, Melina Matthews
Written, directed and produced by Lorena Villarreal, Denisse plate (producer) and filmed in Zone of Silence and northern Mexico locations, the film gives life to local stories about strange events that have occurred for decades.
Tulip Pictures and Barraca Productions will release Silence in the US on Friday, October 26, 2018.
To learn more, visit - www.silencio2018.com
Twitter - www.twitter.com/silenciomovie
Instagram - www.instagram.com/silenciomovie