Lorna's Silence (2008)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Subtle and emotionally bleak, this gripping thriller features the Dardenne brothers' recognizable penchant for realism and very strong performances.

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Movie Info

An Albanian woman living in Belgium finds her dreams of opening a snack bar with her boyfriend leading to tragedy after she agrees to marry a Russian Mafioso in order to gain citizenship. All Lorna wanted was to start a small business with her loving boyfriend, but in order to make that happen she would first have to gain citizenship. Local mobster Fabio claims that he can make that happen if Lorna agrees to a sham marriage with a man named Claudy. After gaining Belgian citizenship, Lorna discovers that a high-profile Russian Mafioso is also seeking legal entry into Belgium, and soon. He's willing to pay a hearty sum in order to marry Lorna, but in order for that second marriage to be possible Fabio will have to have Claudy killed. Will Lorna be able to remain silent as Fabio's deadly plot unfolds, and what will become of her if Fabio finds out that she has warned Claudy of the impending danger he faces? ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Rating:
R (for brief sexuality/nudity, and language)
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Sony Pictures Classics

Cast

Jérémie Renier
as Claudy Moreau
Alban Ukaj
as Sokol
Olivier Gourmet
as inspector
Mireille Bailly
as Monique Sobel
Stephanie Gob
as mental health nurse
Laurent Caron
as detective
Baptiste Sornin
as morgue employee
Cédric Lenoir
as Male Bank Clerk
Cécile Boland
as Female Doctor
Serge Larivière
as Pharmacist
Philippe Jeusette
as Locksmith
Sophia Leboutte
as Claudy's Mother
François Sauveur
as Claudy's Brother
Christian Lusschentier
as ER Paramedic
Stéphane Marsin
as Drug Dealer
Laurence Cordonnier
as Female Bank Clerk
Anne Gérard
as Woman at the Burial
Annette Closset
as Obstetrician Nurse
Isabelle Dumont
as Dry Cleaner Owner
Patrizia Berti
as Policewoman
Léon Michaux
as Plainclothes Policeman
Alao Kasongo
as ER Receptionist
Faruk Ahmed
as Phone House Cashier
Marie-Ange Pougin
as Dry Cleaner Employee
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Lorna's Silence

All Critics (94) | Top Critics (27)

A soul-crushing weight rests upon Lorna (Dobroshi), the Albanian-immigrant heroine of the Dardenne brothers' stunning proletarian character study.

November 16, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | August 16, 2010
Variety
Top Critic

Lorna's Silence doesn't work, but it's a beautiful misfire.

September 3, 2009
Miami Herald
Top Critic

As filmmakers, the Dardennes are more concerned with probing the causes of crime than in glamorizing it.

Full Review… | September 3, 2009
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

In casting the previously unknown Dobroshi, the brothers approach greatness with their lean portrait of simple humanity tested by desire and driven desperate by circumstances.

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The story within Lorna's Silence is built on tiny increments of tantalizing details, meted out in penurious droplets and with chest-tightening tension that suggests that what the brothers wanted to be when they grew up were boa constrictors.

August 28, 2009
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Lorna's Silence

A cold, bleak Belgian film that gives equal importance both to what is not seen and heard and what is. "Lorna's Silence" is a rigid character study by the Dardenne brothers that will be challenging to many. The goal here was seemingly to reflect on the power of absence and silence, and while this focus makes it feel weightless and even pointless at times, these are intentional design choices that offer up food for thought with varying degrees of success.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

I haven't seen a movie quite like Lorna's Silence for a long time. I really do love these films that are just so pretentious, exadurated, and melodramatic, yet strangly plausible. For the most part the audience has to figure out what is going on for themselves. This really works well, especially since the plot is relatively simple. At the same time it is thoroughly engrossing to watch. I have no idea if the whole citizenship underground/espionage actually exists, but it is fasinating on-screen. Lorna's Silence does absolutely everything you would expect from a film of its prestige and style; and to top it off, its really rather good.

Jake ....
Jake ....

Super Reviewer

½

"Lorna's Silence," the new film from Belgium's Dardenne brothers, effectively creates a frightening vision of a world filled with people almost completely lacking empathy. But the story drags in the second half, and the film has an almost polemical edge that weakens its power. The characters start to seem like artificial fabrications meant to drive home the Dardennes' socio-political critiques. The protagonists are Albanians who have built an elaborate scam to benefit Russians and other Easterners trying to get citizenship in the European Union. Deeply disturbing is the cold, matter-of-fact way they put value on the lives of others. Lorna, the main character, is the only woman in the group. I don't want to reveal all the details, so let's just say that Lorna sees this lack of empathy for others most vividly. Her central dilemma is whether to continue in this life or make some changes. Her struggle is profound, and the lives of several others hang in the balance. My problem is that the Albanians' complete amorality starts to seem phony. European filmmakers frequently try to fit life into their theories, rather than trying to build theories that match life. Here I felt the Dardennes were driven to convey a message about contemporary society, and they developed arch caricatures of people to drive that message home. But I wouldn't push this criticism too far. "Lorna's Silence" is still an important and very good film and should be seen by anyone who appreciates serious cinema. Just don't watch it when you're feeling fragile. The film does have the power to be deeply disturbing despite the fact that there's not one iota of on-screen violence. Its power to disturb is far more subtle.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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