[Movie Review] The lines of good and bad are blurred in Korean film “Voice of Silence”

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Voice of Silence Review – When I attended the preview for Korean crime drama film “Voice of Silence” (소리도 없이), I was initially worried that the movie will be too abstract or boring, as I have learnt that lead actor Yoo Ah In did not have a single line in the indie film. But from the very start of the movie till the end, I was clearly proven wrong.

The two main characters – Tae-in and Chang-bok, played by Yoo Ah In and Yoo Jae Myung, make a living by cleaning up crime scenes, and are two “innocent” beings who are just doing their jobs well to get by and are not involved in any of the brutal killings. One day, however, they found themselves being kidnappers unexpectedly, when they were promised a good monetary reward to “pick up” a person – whom they did not expect to be a young girl. The initial agreed upon plan was to keep the girl for one night and return her to her family after getting the ransom money, but things did not go as expected and she ended up having an extended stay at Tae-in’s residence in the rural countryside.

Voice of Silence review – Stockholm Syndrome & Patriarchy

Although Tae-in reluctantly took in the young girl, Cho-hee, to stay at his place, they eventually started gaining trust and opening up to each other. To me, this shows symptoms of Stockholm syndrome, which is a psychological connection formed with their captors during captivity. Although Tae-in did not intend to abduct Cho-hee, ultimately he is still a kidnapper who hid her away from the public eye and stopped her escape attempts. Cho-hee bonded well with Tae-in’s younger sister, and at times, it indeed felt like she was truly happy there and did not want to leave the place. Although we don’t know much about her family, but it was brought up several times in the movie that her family obviously doted on the son more, and she was actually not the intended kidnap target as well, highlighting the issue of patriarchy in her family.

Voice of Silence review

However, at times the line between whether if Cho-hee is suffering from Stockholm syndrome or not is quite blurred, as both Tae-in and Cho-hee could not make up their minds on how they perceived each other. For Tae-in, he just wanted to quickly get the job done and send Cho-hee away, however he still had a conscience when he knew that Cho-hee’s life was in danger. As for Cho-hee, she couldn’t decide to trust Tae-in or not, but ultimately, she makes her decision at the ending, which I will not spoil here.

Voice of Silence review – Yoo Ah In’s Acting

Voice of Silence review

Since Yoo Ah In has no lines in the movie at all, his actions and body languages are quite obvious and easy to understand, without being too exaggerated. From his expressions, ranging from joy, to worry and desperation, his character, Tae-in was able to communicate well and relate his thoughts with the on-screen characters and with the audience watching the movie. In an interview, Yoo Ah In described his character as such, “Tae-in doesn’t speak. I don’t think he is unable to speak at all as he makes some noises sometimes. He refuses to communicate with the world for some reasons.”
 

Overall, this movie has various blurred lines, on the overarching theme of good and evil – for the audience to interpret in their own ways, such as the lead characters working in a job that is essentially a crime, but what they do could also be rationalised as okay; and if Tae-in and Chang-bok are actually good or bad, as they are kidnappers, albeit kind-hearted ones who actually looked after their abductee. The movie ending itself is something that we did not really expect, but it does match the overall theme well. That’s all for our Voice of Silence review, go catch it at the cinemas!

Korean movie “Voice of Silence” (소리도 없이) opens in Singapore cinemas on 5 November 2020.

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