This may not be a movie for everybody, but it ought to be. It might have the result of making us all more astute judges of character and more empathetic toward the struggles of our fellow beings.
The Dardenne Brothers at the core are political filmmakers. Like 'Under the Same Moon' the context of the buying and selling of women is at the center. In the U.S. we have domestic service - nannies, maids, domestics, and of course prostitution. In Europe the problems inherent in he exchange of money for the domestic roles provided by women, and of female flesh is more urgent. When coming from Russia, or eastern Europe it can be brutal and uncompromising. Eastern Promises was one of the few commercial films that went into that subject.
Lorna's Silence has the same issue - which is a life and death issue - at stake. But as these filmmakers can look at an issue like money and the flesh trade like nobody else. We are thrown into the cold hearts of the people themselves. The plot is merely the device to hang a fascinating study in character under extreme circ**stances. The major events, as they exist, are rarely given screen time. It is the close observation of character, particularly that of Lorna to which we are most privileged. And Arta Dobroshi's performance is riveting. (she bears an uncanny resemblance to Ellen Page) As an audience, we are forced to make sense of the emotional life of this woman. It is complicated and it is absolutely compelling.
How they achieve such authentic acting (if you can even call it that) is an involved process of auditions, improvisations, and rehearsals. The result is cinema that, to my mind, engages like nothing else. Lorna's Silence is the scream of the audience. By the time we get to the amazing ending (which couldn't be called a conclusion) we have entered an almost mythic place and ourselves been transformed.