x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Whisper

Perhaps to achieve the allegedly marketable 90-minute length, but the film's pulse is fast, to the point that characters are not allotted enough time to develop emotionally.

Josh Holloway in Whisper.
Josh Holloway in Whisper.

When a young boy is kidnapped for ransom by a convicted criminal (Josh Holloway) and his fiancée (Sarah Wayne Callies), you might think it is easy to predict where the viewers sympathies will lie. But in Whisper, it soon becomes apparent that eight-year-old David (Blake Woodruff) is more dangerous to his captors than they are to him. The fact that his cold-blooded malice is not motivated by self-defence or revenge but sheer vindictiveness and sadism blurs our sense of arbitration, and we end up siding with the criminals over the pseudo-kid. As in most thrillers, the hair-raising sequences are perfected in the editing room. The cutting of scenes in Whisper is timed with shrewd precision, defeating many of the viewer's expectations with terrible jolts. Perhaps to achieve the allegedly marketable 90-minute length, or to keep up the high pace vital to viewer anxiety, the film's pulse is fast, to the point of shortcutting some scenes that, if allowed to unfold steadily, would have grounded a number of plot points that, as it is, remain slapdash. Due to such hasty action, the characters are occasionally not allotted enough time to develop emotionally, which leads in turn to markedly light reactions to major events such as death and betrayal. The DVD contains a bonus feature with an alternative ending, one which may be preferable to the actual finale, which simplistically celebrates the triumph of good.