"The Silence After Life" cover

Feature film released 2020 on Blink in the Endless


Indy Reviews

Daniel Thomas Freeman’s directorial debut The Silence After Life builds on his previous experience as a musician to create an experimental drama with an intense aural experience. Tackling themes of overwhelming depression, grief, loss, love and much more, the film shows us the intensity of the beauty of nature as well as the depth of our own souls.

Katherine has just suffered a terrible loss. We are plunged into the chaos of her life in medias res, forced to understand her through fragmented grief and suffering. Although we have no vision of what an equilibrium might look like for Katherine, she is also not only defined by her overwhelming grief. Freeman develops her character beyond this in a quiet and understated way.

The film relies very little on solid plot points, instead flowing organically through emotion and experience. The ambiguity leads to a sense of universality, meaning viewers will undoubtedly be able to see themselves reflected in the film while also maintaining a strong sense of character in the protagonists.

The main characters, Katherine and Claire, carry the ambiguity of the film excellently as they provide a strong foundation for the emotional experiences. Katherine (Sally Mortemore) is reserved and taciturn, making a good counterpart to Claire (Emma Spearing). Claire’s kindness is very moving and creates a bond between the two women as they are united in suffering. Both Mortemore and Spearing are entirely captivating, creating and intimate connection between their characters as well as the audience.

The score of the film beautifully underpins the more delicate moments of the film and adds an extra layer of unease to the more dramatic ones. I was a particular fan of the way the film captures nature both visually and through sound. A lot of silence is used throughout, giving plenty of time for reflection. The film teaches us to become comfortable and mindful during these instances.

In the final act of the film, the friends take a minute of reflection near a stream. This, for me, was the most emotionally wrought scene and I felt much closer to Katherine and Claire afterwards.

The Silence After Life carefully captures the paradox of grief as an experience that is wholly isolating as well as unifying.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

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