PLOT: Part horror, part comedy, part musical, part fairy tale, part love storyÖ oh yeah, and itís a silent film. Within a world free of sound, a young girl named Abigaile Archibald (Kaite Ritz) suddenly develops a speaking voice. She lives in village that is reminiscent of THE VILLAGE, but must keep her vocals a secret lest she be burned by the townspeople as a witch. Plus, she must contend with an evil stage promoter (Sam Sebastian) with a skill for slaughter whilst convincing a young boy (Dan Bailey) with a flare for flatulence that she loves him.
REVIEW: Yeah, in case you couldnít already tell, SILENT is one of those flicks that brings a little bit of everything to the table. I have to start off by saying that writer/director Michael Pleckaitis has created something that was by far one of the most original and strangely satisfying film experiences that I have ever had. I can honestly say that youíve never seen anything like it, and probably never will. The only problem I have, is figuring out within this review some way to coherently describe what unfolds onscreen without sounding like Iíve been smokiní the reefer all night. I mean, how could I possibly combine the sight of a young boy attempting to profess his love for a beautiful young girl only to end up getting crapped on by an old man? And this is NOT a gross-out comedy. Yet it still works within the realm of SILENT.
Iíve never been a fan of film reviews that reveal too much. Hence, I will keep most of SILENTís actions a secret. Actually I feel that the best way to go into this movie is with as little knowledge of its fine details as possible. That way you can better breathe in how refreshing an experience it is. However, I wouldnít be doing my job if I didnít at least tell you some aspects that I liked. Iíll start out with something I noticed almost immediatelyóthe Music! This may be a silent film in terms of no one speaking, but that doesnít mean it is entirely without sound. Just like the silent films of long ago, SILENT offers up a spectacular mťlange of melodies that brings all the proceedings vibrantly to life from beginning to end. This is all accredited to the filmís composer, Tom DeStafano, who does a brilliant job of blending the classical queue from the flicks of yesteryear with a collection of more modernized chords. Plus, I never knew how accurately musical instruments could interpret an overly gassy digestive system.
Next, itíd be tough to pull off a modern day silent film if you didnít have a cast that fully bought into the notion. Somehow, on his low-budget, director Pleckaitis was able to find an ideal ensemble. Katie Ritz (above), with her big and bright eyes, is a vision to behold as Abigaile. Her sweet-natured tone brings to mind timeless Disney Heroines. Dan Bailey humbly (and purposefully bumbly) complements Ms. Ritz as her good-hearted, but gaseous knight in shining armor. I never saw an actor hurl himself so fearlessly and unabashedly into the act of farting on camera. Lastly, the player who clearly projected the highest amount of skilled seasoning came in the form of Sam Sebastian who appears to be having a helluva time mugging and sneering his way throughout the flick as the wicked, top-hat-wearing Barnaby. This dude had his character down to a tee for every single scene. He was the ideal embodiment of every bad-guy I remember watching from anything filmed before the year 1950.
With SILENT, I literally didnít have a clue as to what was going to come at me next. Each new frame felt like an unexpected surprise. I admit that this unusual type of movie is not for everyone, but those with open minds looking for an independent flick with something entirely new should definitely check it out. At first I wasnít sure if the concept was going to work at a 2-hour running time and I also wasnít sure if a satisfying conclusion could be reached through all that was offered. Well, by now if you canít tell that all my queries were happily fulfilled, then you must be blind. Regardless, Iím giving this baby a