The Angry Silence has everything that the critics have said British films lack. The subject matter is contemporary, and shot in an industrial setting with a black and white naturalism. It deals with a social problem and has a working class hero.

The film demonstrates how irrelevant these characteristics are to quality

Not that it is without merit. Perhaps for the first time on British screens a factory worker comes home to watch the telly and do his pools and it is not meant to be funny. The character of the hero, Tom Curtis, and his relationship with his family is one of the happiest things about the film.

There is a nice feeling for the pattern of family life. Domestic irritation is part of this pattern, as well as sentimental affection, and yet we do not feel that these have been added to give the “other side of the picture". Slight incidents—the mother throwing the front door key from the top window to the little girl on her return from school, Tom going off, with his trousers turned into his socks, to play football with his son Brian, and Brian himself pattering through in his pyjamas to announce: "me heart has stopped”—are carefully observed without degenerating into “social observation”.

Richard Attenborough as Tom Curtis plays with an understanding that suggests an ability which would certainly have been developed within the framework of any more progressive industry. The casting of Pier Angeli in the role of the wife Anna (although she is less adequate) is not as inappropriate as might have been feared. Because of this, and because of the script— which, although it has its lapses, at least indicates an awareness of how people actually speak—these early scenes establish on the part of the audience a genuine sympathy for Tom. When his crisis comes, when he refuses to strike and is subsequently sent to “Coventry”, we can accept as true the confusion of reasons that lie behind his decision. In the film’s most impressive performance, Michael Craig as Joe, the Curtis’s young boarder, intelligently conveys the character’s indifference to the adult world of “responsibility”, committees and decisions—“as long as he gets his beer and his oats he don’t wanna know”. He also manages to suggest the feeling of unease that accompanies this indifference. Joe is finally confronted by the meaning of indifference when Tom is beaten up by the young thugs, and the scene between Joe and Anna in the hospital waiting room is quite beautifully played.