I’m still not sure whether I made the right decision by recommending you this movie. As is the case with so many modern movies, the opening twenty minutes are excellent and the following thirty even better. However, what follows after that feels cheap and designed to stir your emotions. I was imagining Christian and Mads Tafdrup, creators of this movie, laughing and screaming I got you now! The best way to watch Speak No Evil, a psychological thriller leaning towards the horror genre, is to approach it as a character study.
This also goes for the final third of the movie which elicited incredibly strong reactions from the audience. While you could totally identify with the characters all throughout the opening fifty minutes, the closing thirty was infuriatingly opposite. And you can study why you feel that way and what exactly brought about those feelings. That way you won’t be left with an unsatisfying finale but a thought-provoking concept.
Another thing you need to know about Speak No Evil is that the atmosphere is intense and uncomfortable. We will follow two couples with children who strike up a friendship while on vacation in Italy. They decide to meet again and this is where things start happening. I remember watching Carnage, a much more timid and humorous take on the same subject some ten years ago. This one felt like clumsy Hereditary or Get Out, in a sense. Although I must admit that the dialogues and overall atmosphere were excellent.
Bjørn, Louise, and their daughter Agnes are enjoying their vacation in beautiful Tuscany. Same as Patrick and Karin and their son Abel. The six of them hit it off and spend a couple of nice days together. Sometime after their return to Denmark, Bjørn receives a letter from the Netherlands. It’s from Patrick, inviting him and his family to spend a couple of days at their rural house. They agree not knowing that this will change their lives forever.
I don’t think I need to tell you that all the technical aspects of Speak No Evil were excellent. The cinematography was quite beautiful and the same can be said about sound editing. As per usual, acting was also top-notch. Morten Burian, playing Bjorn, was fucking phenomenal! We will also get a couple of pretty brutal and graphic scenes, so be ready for them. It’s nice to see that filmmakers are not afraid of going there in today’s world of safe and commercial choices.
And speaking of safe choices, I think that this is exactly the audience this movie is trying to target. Those who live comfortably and are able to have somewhat normal lives while the working class is suffering. Although I might be reading this completely wrong, probably still under the influence of New Order, a Mexican movie with a much blunter message. In case I’m not, I strongly disagree with their conclusion. I could go on and on about this but I don’t want to spoil anything for you.
If however, you want to tell me more about your impressions of this movie, please do write in the comments section below. We can really get things going then. Shudder has been picking up some solid movies lately. First Vicious Fun, then Saloum, and now this one, which is a good sign after a lot of below-average productions.
Director: Christian Tafdrup
Writers: Christian Tafdrup, Mads Tafdrup
Cast: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt, Karina Smulders, Liva Forsberg, Marius Damslev
Fun Facts: The Dutch couple, Karin, (Karina Smulders), and Patrick, (Fedja van Huet), are married in real life.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14253846/