Review by Mark Merrell
Death. Those that of us left to suffer in its aftermath process it in many ways, sometimes with unexpected consequences.
Verena (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys) is living in Italy. She is a nurse, working with children that have special psychological needs, moving from one to another, solving their inner turmoil and demons, and then moving on. Hers is a life measured out in goodbyes and memories.
The film begins with an un-introduced woman suffering in bed from an unknown illness, with a young boy at her side. She is explaining how someone in the future will be there for her son (presumably), and that he will know this by the love she has for him. The boy watches helplessly as she slips away. Next, we find Verena bidding a farewell to presumably her most recent clients, while their daughter begs Verena to stay. She reminds the young girl she is all better now, and her parents will care for her.
The path leads us and Verena on a bus ride through Tuscany, dropping her at the doorstep of a a foreboding pathway, lined occasionally with overturned broken statues, leading to a large villa in the distance, her next destination.
Once there, she meets Klaus (Martin Csokas, The Equailzer, Loving, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) The Return of the King (2003)) a seemingly sad and worn out person who explains that his son Jakob (Edwin Dring, In the Coat’s Pocket) has not spoken a word since his wife, (Jakob’s mother) Malvina (Caterina Murino, Casino Royale (2006)) passed away seven months and sixteen days ago due to a sudden illness.
Kluas isn’t optimistic that Verena can actually help his son, as she has no degree in nursing. He talks about her predecessors having failed his son, thus having retreated. Verena wants to meet Jakob, somewhat enthusiastic to do so. She is eager to show a doubtful Klaus how her experience and sensitivity will win the child over.
Jakob is not impressed when she walks into the room, looking very distant and lost in thought during their brief first encounter. Verena is then led to her room by Jakob’s grandfather Alesso (Remo Girone, Live by Night, The Jewel) a quiet and somewhat mysterious man. He was Malvina’s father, who also resides (as we find out soon) with his wife Lilia (Lisa Gastoni, Sacred Heart), who welcomes Verena with open arms. It all seems like a path to wonder down together with the characters, as we start to guess just how and if Verena will succeed to entice Jakob to speak again.
Just as Hitchcock is famous for delivering, Director Eric Dennis Howell (Strangers, Ana’s Playground) takes us on a thrill ride that doesn’t feel so scary at the start. First, you he gets you comfortable with the setup, but then he places you on darkened disorienting psychological trails that you didn’t see coming, with no idea where or which one he will send you down. Several scenes provide camera angles setting into motion thrilling moments reminiscent also of Hitchcock’s work. The film isn’t an omage to Hitch, but I’m sure he would have thoroughly enjoyed it, maybe playing a bit part in a cameo as well.
Everyone in the cast provided a knockout performance, and the music gave a perfect texture to the film. A fantastic thriller and psychological drama written by Andrew Shaw (Strangers) adapted from the novel, ‘Voice from the Stone’ by Silvio Raffo, you will find yourself talking and thinking about, ‘Voice from the Stone’ long after the house lights are undimmed, and your driving home from the theater, to a presumably, good evening.
In theaters, VOD and Digital HD on April 28.
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