The Silent Storm, film review: ‘Joyless, austere drama starring Damian Lewis’

Damian Lewis stars in Silent Storm

Damian Lewis stars in Silent Storm - Credit: Archant

There isn’t a storm, and it isn’t silent.

This is a joyless, austere drama about joyless, austere religious folk, living on a beautiful, remote, joyless and austere Scottish island.

The island location is so austere that at the start of the film everybody leaves it to go to the mainland for work.

The only two who remain are the preacher (Lewis) and his put upon wife (Riseborough).

His world view is that “to expect happiness in this world is a form of arrogance”.


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Their life is interrupted by the arrival of Fionn (Anderson): a troubled youth from the mainland that Lewis is to straighten out.

A lot goes unsaid, but there is plenty of noise to make up for it.

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The subject would suggest a modest, quiet approach.

The film, though, is bellicose: when the wind isn’t howling, the furniture is being smashed or the actors are bellowing at each other; any lulls are filled by an overpowering score.

This is McFarlane’s debut and you can imagine at the end of each day’s filming, she sat through the rushes and was pleased with what she saw, that she was making a contemporary equivalent of The Piano.

Individual scenes and shots must’ve looked impressive on their own, but when you put them all together, all the supposed intensity looks trumped up and bogus.

Lewis doesn’t convince as the preacher.

He wants to be intense but instead looks as though’ he’s put in some ill-fitting contact lenses to make his eyes look constantly red and watery.

As ever with Lewis, he is so busy acting that you never see past him to the character he’s playing.

Chillingly the film is produced by Bond bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson – can I take back my scepticism about Idris Elba?

Rating: 2/5 stars

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