October 1, 2009 by  

Lorna’s Silence


Lorna’s Silence

Jérémie Renier and Arta Dobroshi star in "Lorna's Silence."

Starring: Arta Dobroshi, Jérémie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne (“The Child”) and Luc Dardenne (“The Child”)
Written by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne (“The Child”) and Luc Dardenne (“The Child”)
 
Directed by Belgian filmmakers and brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“The Child”), “Lorna’s Silence” is an intellectual foreign thriller that provides the most impact thorough its impressive attention to detail.

When we meet Lorna Moreau (Arta Dobroshi), an immediate sense of unease is evident in her life. Lorna has married a drug addict named Claudy (Jérémie Renier) to gain Belgian citizenship. They share an apartment like roommates, but Lorna treats Claudy like a client. Her unwillingness to become emotionally attached to him on any level becomes the key theme to her underlying intentions.

With dreams to open up a small snack bar with her boyfriend Sokol (Alban Ukaj), Lorna has conspired with the criminal underworld and drawn out a complex plan where she will help facilitate Claudy’s death by overdose, become a widow, and remarry a Russian mobster who will pay her for her services.

But when Claudy decides that he wants to quit using drugs and asks his temporary wife to help him kick his habit, Lorna is faced with a moral dilemma. How can she help Claudy stay clean and still force a divorce that will be expedited through the judicial system as fast as it would if he was dead?

It’s a complex story that is balanced out well by Dobroshi’s fairly straight-forward performance. Her Lorna evokes little emotion, but does so consciously and with sufficient strokes of realism and depth. It’s a bit hard to imagine that the only reason she is caught up in the criminal activity is because she wants to start her own business, but her motivation becomes less important as the story moves along.

Like the Coen brothers do in “No Country for Old Men,” the Dardenee brothers take total control of their film by restricted their audience from certain aspects of the story. While your first instinct might be to feel like you may have been cheated out of something significant, the boldness of their decision to pick and choose scenes is respectable.

What’s a bit more questionable is the open-endedness the Dardenees allow their story to sway into. By the end, the already complicated tale manifests into something even more indistinguishable. The Dardenees might be leaving it up to the audience to come up with their own conclusions about Lorna’s future, but something tells us they’re not even sure what they’re actually trying to express.

Grade: B

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