In Simple Like Silver, writer-director Damian K. Lahey (Cocaine Angel, The Heroes of Arvine Place) seamlessly weaves the stories of its three protagonists – all of whom are complete strangers. The film begins with Angela’s (played onscreen by Susanna Nelson and voice-acted by Lacy Marie Meyer) story. Angela has awoken in the middle of nowhere and is far from home after being drugged and assaulted by a date the night before. The viewers follow her as she walks home, still struggling with what has happened to her and the possibility the man is still looking for her. We next meet Lucia (played by Cristina Marsillach) who is a Spanish tourist visiting the same Floridian resort town. Lucia has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness that sometimes causes vivid hallucinations. While wandering through town, she sees a violent crime take place… or did she? Lastly, we meet Joe (Hudson Sims) who is a young writer. He befriends Lucia on her existential journey.
Spanish actress Cristina Marsillach truly shines in this film. She has a captivating presence on-screen as well as in her voice-overs. Even if Lahey had kept the film completely silent, she would be capable of telling Lucia’s story in expressions alone. She is so sincere when she speaks about life, lost loves, and what could have been. It is not at all difficult to empathize with Lucia.
Working with Marsillach had been a dream of Lahey’s going all the way back to high school when he first saw her in Dario Argento’s Opera and Gabriele Salvatores’ Marrakech Express. He even wrote his first screenplay with her in mind. Though it may have taken over two decades and a lot of detective work to track down the ultra elusive Marsillach, Lahey was finally able to make his dream collaboration happen with the uniquely magnificent Simple Like Silver.
Filmed in and around St. Augustine and Jacksonville, FL, the cinematography is truly stunning and it came as a shock to learn it was shot on an iPhoneX. Lahey served as both director of photography and editor of the film, though he gave the cinematography and editing credits to Alex Hornung and Scott Allen, two of his best friends from high school who passed away too soon.
Lahey and producer Craig Moorhead’s decision that the film be silent and each of the characters’ stories voice-acted was a stroke of genius. The stories and struggles of these characters become far more personal than they would have been with in-film dialogue. The phenomenal score by David Wingo (Take Shelter, Midnight Express, Maggie) provides just the right balance of emphasis and accompaniment, cementing the film’s magical and peculiar tone.
Though it is heavier on existentialism than it is on mystery, make no mistake: this is a lean masterpiece of modern arthouse cinema that avoids becoming pretentious thanks to some well placed moments of self-deprecation, humor and awareness. Simple Like Silver is not only a dream project of Lahey’s – it is a dream of a film. Experience the mystery for yourself, and catch Simple Like Silver on Amazon Prime.