Soundless (2004)

“He tailors his method to his victims.”

The German film Soundless (Lautlos) begins with a high-tech surveillance team spying on a man who’s drinking a glass of wine outside of his apartment while a blonde woman sleeps soundly in bed just a few feet away. For all their high tech equipment–including sophisticated bugging devices–the surveillance team misses the sneaky hooded assassin who shoots the man they’re supposed to be watching. After killing his victim, the assassin robs the apartment, and ogles the sleeping blonde–a one-night stand named Nina (Nadja Uhl).

The hired assassin is Viktor (Joachim Krol)–a man who is–as the title suggests–a “soundless” professional. And from this point, an investigation begins with determined policeman Lang (Christian Berkel) doggedly pursuing any clues the assassin left behind. Viktor is portrayed as the ultimate professional, and he’s supposed to retire after his next job. While Lang hunts for the identity of the assassin, a relationship springs up between Viktor and Nina, and there’s obviously a lot more to Nina than meets the eye. Written and directed by Mennan Yapo, Soundless is a highly stylized, glossy thriller that unfortunately falls down when it comes to plot. Viktor is portrayed as this assassin who possesses almost superhuman qualities–so he is able to off people with cold mechanical precision, and yet the film immediately makes Viktor commit a very stupid error when he strikes up a relationship with the tasty blonde.

Detective Lang is supposed to be Victor’s juggernaut, and he’s also portrayed with superhuman qualities–which result in a sort of ESP connection with his quarry. The plot’s holes, fancifulness and hopeless improbabilities tested my patience, and ultimately Soundless reminded me of a German version of a Matt Damon thriller. Now if you’re a fan of Matt Damon thrillers (The Bourne Identity), then you may enjoy Soundless–even if you don’t normally like German films, but I was hoping for something along the lines of Run Lola Run or The Warrior and The Princess, and this film did not reach that level. In German with English subtitles.

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