The sound of silence is never quite how you'd expect to hear it in this murky, confounding but engrossing thriller. Orphaned, traumatized, deaf-mute teen outcast Camilla Belle moves in with her distant godparents, gaining outwardly bitchy cheerleading stepsister Elisha Cuthbert in the bargain.

The genteel suburban veneer of her new home is predictably thin--really, the American Beauty folks are the Bradys by comparison--and Belle's status as an apparent cipher makes her a convenient repository for all manner of discomfiting, plot-spoiling confessions and discoveries.

Once everyone's most disturbing secret has been found out, it's only a question of when and how the cold war between newfound sisters will turn hot. Unfortunately, you might still be wondering about the how when the credits roll, as The Quiet's fractured third act is positively maddening, providing what must have seemed like a satisfying resolution in the editing room while foregoing at least a few of the important steps in between.

Still, Belle's haunted introvert and Cuthbert's manipulative but wounded drama queen are fine portrayals of rich characters; you'll just wish that each of them had a tiny bit more to say.
--Alex Markerson

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