As the opening credits roll we are met with scenes of the countryside; there’s beauty here but a heavy and leaden atmosphere hangs over each shot, penetrating the countryside with a dark and disquieting claustrophobia. We are introduced to a middle-aged farmer (Jeroen Willems), he works hard and in solitude coming home only to his ailing father for whom he holds a barely disguised dislike. It seems though that our protagonist has reached a turning point and now needs a change. He moves his father into a room upstairs in an effort to discover his own space again and perhaps invite the men he desires back to his bed. But it isn’t as simple as freeing a bed up when you’ve buried your feelings and desires so deeply within yourself as Willems powerfully reminds us in this dark tale of repression and passion.
The biggest problem here isn’t the film’s subject matter, its actors or its slow burn approach, it’s simply that the script and director lose their grip on the film as it progresses. We have a lot of build up and we are getting given an interesting portrayal of repression by the late Jeroen Willems but then the film begins to falter, misjudging how to play scenes so that they become stoic rather than introspective and missing the opportunities to develop instead choosing to become inert. This is a shame because all of the actors are doing good work here, the concept of the script hold lots of potential and the narrative makes some brave decisions which really help to drive home the nature of repression and inertia.
It’s worth seeing the film if the subject matter interests you or if you’re a fan of Willems and want to see one of his final performances. I don’t know that I can recommend the film though because it’s tiring when it should be at its most affecting and lifeless when its plot should be accelerating ahead. There are many worthy films where they choose to forgo plot for conjuring up a sense of mood, who focus on tiny details rather than building a complex narrative and I am a fan of such films. It’s the kind of film It’s All So Quiet wants to be but it just misjudges how to play it a little too much for it to truly work.
It’s All So Quiet is released today by Peccadillo Pictures, will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!