Based on the novel of the same name by Lisa St Aubin de Terán, The Bay of Silence is a dreary thriller that completely fails to land any of its twists or turns due to phoned in performances, dreadful direction and an abysmal screenplay.
When Will (Claes Bang) discovers his wife (Olga Kurylenko) and three children have suddenly disappeared, he sets out on a frantic search to recover his family. Upon finding them in a remote Normandy village, his relief soon turns to outright horror as he discovers his infant son Amadeo has mysteriously died.
The main issue with The Bay of Silence is the utterly ridiculous character choices that plague the film throughout, creating an experience that is less thrilling and more frustrating. Whether this is due to the original novel or Caroline Goodall’s screenplay it is not clear, but the film becomes something of an unintentional comedy as the film’s hero does absolutely everything wrong. Every other narrative beat in the film can be seen coming a mile off, with the climactic twist feeling totally unearned and disappointing.
These issues are certainly not aided by the cast’s totally soulless performances. Claes Bang, recently impressive in BBC’s Dracula, is particularly disappointing as he seems to sleepwalk through the film with absolutely zero effort to portray any of the emotions that somebody would realistically experience when, for example, discovering their wife has seemingly murdered their child. Even the reliable Brian Cox doesn’t seem particularly interested in the material, delivering a one-note performance that could rank among his worst.
Paula van der Oest’s direction also leaves a whole lot to be desired, feeling at times like a film school project, and the result is a film that feels amateur and cheap. The Bay of Silence is a bleak, empty and wholly frustrating thriller that disappoints across the board.