A damaged and dysfunctional family haunted by its dark past may be beyond repair in “The Price for Silence,” a grim melodrama whose self-destructive protagonist, Kira Flynn (Lynn Mancinelli), is so rude and snarky for the movie’s first 45 minutes that it’s a wonder the picture ever recovers.
Fortunately, it does — to a degree, anyway — once Kira, a resentful, thwarted artist who returns to her New Jersey hometown to attend her father George’s funeral, starts acting somewhat human toward her grieving mother, Sheila (Kristin Carey). But there’s bad blood here involving painful secrets and truths that are slowly, at times intriguingly revealed as Kira attempts to square a traumatic event from her teen years.
Still, we never learn enough about George, an alcoholic who apparently couldn’t hold a job, to fully illuminate his place in his family’s unraveling. Yes, he was complicit in helping the town’s wealthy and powerful developer (Richard Thomas, quite good) conceal the crime that has caused Kira such long-term suffering. But it feels like there’s more to George’s remunerated “silence,” as well as to the acquiescence of Sheila and of Kira’s insecure brother, Lucas (Emrhys Cooper), than is explored in director Tony Germinario’s scattered script (he and Mancinelli share story credit).
An unconvincing, late-breaking tragic turn; several dubious, go-nowhere supporting characters; and a blurrily provocative ending don’t help.
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Playing: Starts July 19, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood
“The Price for Silence.” Not rated. Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes. Playing: Starts July 19, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood.