Lorna’s Silence DVD Review


Fed a diet of predictable plot lines for far too long, viewers are in for an extraordinarily unique experience with Lorna’s Silence (Le Silence De Lorna), and a reminder of what suspense and mystery were meant to be in a movie. A truth in advertising masterfully crafted tale of muted female survival in a quietly brutal world, Lorna’s Silence, Best Screenplay winner and nominated for a Golden Palm at Cannes, unfolds petal by petal, surprising when not tantalizing the audience as it stirringly reveals mere inklings of the character’s haunting inner emotional and psychological world.

Written and directed by famed Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (L’Enfant, La Promesse), The Silence enters the secretive, cunningly evasive life of Lorna (Arta Dobroshi), who at the start of the film from all appearances, seems to be a fairly ordinary, if sullen young Belgian newlywed navigating a dull daily routine working at a dry cleaning establishment. And returning home nightly to her apartment, too exhausted to barely exchange words with her seemingly emotionally demanding spouse Claudy (Jeremie Renier). Or is he rather an annoying roommate?

We soon learn in delicately unraveling moments, that Lorna is involved in an arranged green card style marriage with Claudy, an addict desperate for drug money in return. Though their casual exchanges appear to have established an odd couple friendship beyond a strictly formal stranger contract.

However, the gangsters who arranged the fake marriage so that Lorna, of mysterious origins though pulling off seeming Belgian to us in all regards at this point, have set their sights on a much bigger fish to fry. That is, Lorna’s new marriage to a Russian businessman offering lots of cash. So they attempt to pressure Lorna into a deadly scheme to murder Claudy via a drug overdose, so she can then enter into lucrative fast track matrimony as a widow.

And though Lorna is quite the crafty businesswoman herself and views Claudy as primarily an annoying obstacle in her life while contemplating eventual reunion with her immigrant boyfriend, she reaches a point of resistance in the face of this new duplicity, when it comes to viewing other human beings simply as objects of exploitation. And as she ironically herself has come to be.

To give away much more about this richly textured portrait delving into the harsh and frantic, wordless underworld of the immigrant experience today, would spoil the many pleasures of this film experience. And though the ending feels somewhat abrupt and unresolved, the journey of one woman through the perplexing present, not unlike the historical exploitative female dilemma of arranged marriages so mired in cynical, dehumanizing economic imperatives, is astonishing to behold.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rated R

3 stars

DVD Features: Interviews With The Dardenne Brothers And Star Arta Dobroshi; Theatrical Trailer.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.