Silent Hill (Silenced)

Well, attempting to watch Silent Hill turned out to be rather interesting. Starting to watch it was easy enough. Some way into the film, however, just as the story was getting into gear, the film stops. The lights go up. Cries of “What?!” rise from an audience which is behaving very nicely for a group of young people watching an offbeat film with arty pretensions on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The film restarts, but then later stops again. At this point the cries of “What?!” are accompanied by cries of “Refund!” and about half the audience leaves, the rest of us being told that we will not get refunds if we don’t leave now. This is of course assuming that we will actually go on to see the rest of the film in its entirety. We see a little more of it. Then it stops for the third and final time. At this point we are told that the film stock is faulty and we are all to be given a refund. Most of us left are of the opinion that we’d rather see the film, but what can you do? A few people wonder aloud if they’ll be able to download it (ie. illegally - oh noes!!!!).

So, I have seen about forty five minutes of Silent Hill, for free. My opinion of what I saw is largely positive. At some point I'll have to write about what I look for in films, but it feels too vague to write down without having thought about it. I was expecting the script to be rubbish and the visuals to be striking. I wasn’t disappointed in either respect. I wasn’t expecting it to be scary - and it wasn’t really - but I was gratified with an evocative and creepy atmosphere that managed to pull me in even through the technical problems. Sean Bean’s attempt at an American accent was also very interesting.

It remains to be seen if I will be able to catch the rest of Silent Hill at some point. In part because I should be focussing on uni work (although experience suggests my mind will wander as usual) and in part because I’m not sure if I want to sit through the “Yeah, yeah, yeah, skip to the surreal bit” beginning of the movie for a second time (even if it does start with Radha Mitchell running around in a rather attractive set of pyjamas).

Anyway, in the end I took my refunded money and bought Kai Doh Maru on DVD, another (short) film which I also expect to have a poor script and striking visuals. I will watch it at my leisure, sprawled out on my sofa and hopefully interruptions will be limited to my cat getting up to mischief. This may turn out to be the best way to watch Silent Hill, as well...

Update: Silent Hill gets quite a positive review from Empire, my second favourite source for film reviews.

A step in the right direction for console-to-screen transitions and a twisted masterpiece of set design. Ultimately, though, it's a little too much like watching someone else play the game.

Or not watching, if the film breaks. :-(

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