Film review: The Gulf of Silence

This is a review of the recently released film The Gulf of Silence, directed by M.K. Rhodes. It’s the tale of a fictional (?) professor who experiences something remarkable, suggesting the possibility of an alien intelligence visiting the Earth. Her life then goes completely to pieces until she winds up being recruited to come work for a “three-letter agency” deep within the black-budget world of the United States government, investigating the UFO phenomenon.

Considering the limitations of both budget and restrictions caused by the pandemic, both of which Rhodes told Hot Air were factors in how she was able to proceed, this is a truly remarkable film. Nearly the entire film is shot in the form of an interview with the professor, Dr. Laura Gale, in a variety of backgrounds. These segments are interspersed with wild and creative CGI imagery, historical footage and other imagery to flesh out the film. It’s visually a beautiful piece telling a highly intriguing story and the score is hauntingly beautiful.

Upon its release, the movie became the subject of considerable speculation in online forums, with some viewers seeing it as strictly a work of narrative fiction, while others claimed that it was a “documentary in disguise” revealing information about the United States government and UFOs. We asked Ms. Rhodes to clear that up for us. Here is her answer.

It is, in truth, both. The framework of the film is fiction, but it contains more hard facts than virtually any UFO documentary bar James Fox’s excellent “The Phenomenon”. This is less a reflection of my film’s truthfulness than it is a reflection on the average UFO documentary. In actuality, you cannot make a proper “documentary” about the UFO phenomenon because ultimately you are either making a documentary founded on, at best, speculation or hedged bets, or you are simply interviewing witnesses, and that is not a documentary about UFOs, that is simply a documentary about people who claim they have seen UFOs. A fictional framework allows me the luxury of speculating without the risk of being wrong and then having the film become dated; it also allows me to say things that the more neutral tone of something like “The Phenomenon” cannot.

Ms. Rhodes informed us that she’s long been a fan of the genre, describing herself as “a child of the X-Files,” and her love of the subject comes through clearly. The December 2017 release of that blockbuster New York Times article on AATIP was what prompted her to begin work on the project. I, for one, am very glad that she did.

The Gulf of Silence is now streaming on Amazon along with other platforms. Visit the film’s website for additional details.

Despite thoroughly enjoying this film from beginning to end, I vacillated a bit on a final rating because of the rather ambiguous nature of the presentation in terms of fact versus fantasy. But in the end, on the Hot Air scale for subscription-service films, The Gulf of Silence gets a 3.5:

4 – Subscribe to the service to watch this
3 – Make time to watch it if you already subscribe
2 – Worth a watch if nothing else appeals
1 – Avoid at all costs

The Gulf of Silence is rated TV-MA (18+) though I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not sexual in nature, nor does it contain much in the way of offensive language. I would say this movie is fine at least for older teens, though it deals with some complicated subjects, potential conspiracy theories, and other matters that may require a bit of explanation for younger viewers.