Short Review: “The Great Silence” by Katrine Brocks

From an irreverent party girl trying to adjust to her impending motherhood in the coming-of-age gem “Ninjababy” to a novice dealing with a traumatic past in the drama “The Great Silence”Katrine Brocks’ outstanding debut feature, should not be easy, but the talented Norwegian actress Kristine Kujath Thorp does it with excellence to consolidate herself as one of the talents to watch in the European industry.

Thorp plays Sister Alma, a young novice preparing to become a nun and commit herself entirely to God. A few days before the ceremony, her brother Erik (Elliott Crosset Hove) shows up, fresh out of rehab, at the convent intent on claiming his fair share of her inheritance, which Silje (Alma’s real name) has already donated to the order.

Alma feels uncomfortable from the first moment Erik appears and things get worse for her when mother Miriam (Karen-Lise Mynster) invites him to stay for a few days. The stay and coexistence revive old traumas for Alma and it soon becomes evident that, contrary to what she tries to project, her spiritual side is not at peace; no matter how much she prays, her soul not only does not feel God but she soon begins to be overwhelmed by her personal demons.

Katrine Brocks patiently and precisely navigates the threads of her story to use silences as a narrative tool and, with the help of outstanding photography by Mia Mai Dengsø Graabæk, create an atmosphere of uncertainty and suspense. The montage introduces an element of temporal chaos to the film that serves to represent the emotional state of its protagonist until it leads to a fascinating ending. And at the center of it all is a gutsy Kristine Kujath Thorp who perfectly conveys the trauma of her character; Elliott Crosset Hove is no slouch in a dynamic performance that packs a lot of pain.

“The Great Silence” was part of the Chicago International Film Festival 2022 where he obtained the Roger Ebert Award ex aequo.

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