As it deals heavily with the conflict within Pakistan between Muslims and Sikhs, Silent Waters requires the viewer to have some knowledge of the history behind the two cultures in order to fully appreciate the drama of the film’s story (short version: they hate each other). The plot revolves around Ayesha (Kiron Kher) and Saleem (Aamir Ali Malik), a Muslim mother and son who seem happy enough, until the son falls in with a group of fanatical Islamist militants. The group is looking to keep all Sikhs out of the country, something that doesn’t sit too well with Ayesha (for reasons that are revealed as the film progresses). Silent Waters is a slow-paced, sporadically intriguing film that’s ultimately sunk by director Sabiha Sumar’s occasionally simplistic and melodramatic treatment of the material. Saleem’s transformation from carefree youth into a rabid extremist happens far too quickly to really feel plausible; one day he’s wooing his girlfriend with a flute, and the next he’s badgering local Sikhs. It’s a shame, too, as the tragic storyline involving Ayesha is genuinely compelling and even touching.
** out of ****