Silent Fall Review

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By now one must be wondering what is prompting Bruce Beresford, who directed Driving Miss Daisy to Oscar-laden glory, to make such odd career choices. No sooner has his last effort, the critically drubbed A Good Man In Africa, faded from the memory, than along comes this faintly distasteful psychological drama, also destined to sink untraceably without much in the way of fuss.

Jake Rainer (Dreyfuss), a former child shrink haunted by a past tragedy, is called out of retirement after a rich local couple are messily carved up in their bedroom and it transpires that the only witness to the carnage is their autistic nine-year-old son Tim (Ben Faulkner). It's up to Jake, together with Tim's big sister Sylvie (Tyler) to coax the child into identifying the culprit.

What begins as an intriguing idea with much potential and Dreyfuss in eminently likeable form, quickly gives way to a whodunit so blindingly obvious that after a snappy 20 minutes the killer's identity is apparent, and you feel it's going to take a frighteningly long time before the end credits arrive. Such important plot points as the reason for Jake's retirement, and the reaction of his wife (Hamilton) when the sexually-charged Sylvie flaunts her obligatory adolescent crush upon him, are barely touched upon, while the big-name cast (including a splendid cameo from John Lithgow as a creepy rival shrink) are woefully under-used.

Despite the angelic-looking Faulkner being reasonably impressive, the cliche-packed script and much pandering to a PC Rainman ahoy perspective on autism locate this thriller in humdrum central.