Erik Flynn Patton directed Tower Of Silence, from a script written by Daniel Patton, and for every good thing in the film, there is something that leans more towards the negative as well. The characterizations are a perfect example of this. Every character in this movie has a tragic backstory, to the point where it feels overwrought and unbelievable. Denzikel is being haunted by visions of his dead lover, which is one of the reasons he is at the monastery. Rahim does not use his magical abilities because he accidentally almost (or did, I forget) killed someone once. Arcadia’s family was killed when she was quite young. Commander Orson, Denzikel’s uncle, played by Rick Zahn, has experienced the horrors of war.
If I kept going, it would almost sound like a parody, but it is not. The attempts at backstory are greatly appreciated, but there is no variety to them. There isn’t even much nuance to any of it. Of course, throughout the events of the movie, Rahim will overcome his one issue and help save the day. That’s what I mean, everything is purely black and white, with the obstacles and ways to overcome them telegraphed early on. But is that better or worse than not having any attempts at characterization?
The directing is equally as uneven. Most of Tower Of Silence takes place in the forest. A lot of the time, director of photography Anthony Littlechild is able to make the surroundings feel atmospheric and mystical. However, there are times where it looks like the actors are standing in front of a green screen. Maybe these were pickup shots done to help the movie run smoother? I don’t know, but the noticeable difference between the two kinds of shots lessens the more immersive qualities of the film.
“…there are a lot of elements to juggle before a high fantasy movie even begins shooting.”
This unbalance even stems from the costumes. The various spellcasters look fine enough, even if their tunics and robes look too clean to sell the war at hand. The soldiers, on the other hand, all look like forgotten extras from a canceled Spanish conquistador project. It is jarring and does not mesh with the aesthetic of the rest of the film.
The one area that Tower Of Silence does not wobble back and forth is the acting. The cast delivers well enough, even if they don’t always interact with the computer-generated effects very believably. Harris, Rose, and Gill play off each other nicely, and their budding friendship is easily bought into. As Marwoleath, McAllister is creepy and exudes a certain villainous charm. Jenny Sterlin absolutely nails it as Kae. As her health deteriorated while being held prisoner, Sterlin ensures that the character’s ever-present optimism makes sense. She also overcomes the tiresome mentor role with a sweet and calming presence, so Kae does come across as cliche as she might have otherwise.
For everything, good and ill, that I just said about the film there is really only one question that matters- was it entertaining? For me, I’d say that yes, Tower Of Silence is fun. I found the lore to be quite engaging, the action was solid, and the characters were likable. If you love D&D and don’t mind some cheese in your films, this is worth checking out.