Writer-director Lorena Villarreal takes Mexico’s mysterious Zone of Silence as inspiration for her metaphysical thriller “Silencio,” in which a woman’s life is irreparably altered by the presence of a highly charged stone from this confounding area of magnetic meteorites.
Ever since her grandfather James (John Noble) picked up the stone in a lab, it has shaped the life of Ana (Melina Matthews). While she attempts to understand this, her son Felix (Ian Garcia Monterrubio) is kidnapped in a ploy to get the stone, buried by James long ago.
“Silencio” is less about the things that this stone can do and more about what its presence inspires people to do: lie, manipulate and steal in attempts to harness its power and effect change in their own lives. And yet, this quiet film, which jumps around in time and doesn’t always offer enough clarity for what happens, often feels dramatically inert.
A few scientific talks detail the highly charged geology of the Zone of Silence, but the audience is expected to accept its time-bending, alternate-reality creating, clairvoyant qualities, with very little in the way of explanation.
Ana turns out to be one tough mother and Matthews expresses both her fierceness and her love for her family. Noble is also moving as a man reckoning with his past and his own hand in it. But while “Silencio” could be fascinating sci-fi, it’s bogged down in all the family drama.
Rated: R, for some violence
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday in general release