Hi everyone, Bryan here…
Martin Scorsese certainly has had a fantastic career in film. From films like ‘Raging Bull‘ to ‘Goodfellas‘ and ‘Casino‘, to ‘Taxi Driver‘, ‘The Departed‘, and the recent ‘Wolf of Wall Street‘ – it’s easy to say that Scorsese is one of the best filmmakers still out there today. Scorsese may be know for a lot of gangster and super violent films over his career, but he has made a variety of other movies in different genres, including the recent kid’s film ‘Hugo‘. He is also a big supporter in world cinema, making it easier for people around the world to experience new filmmakers from other countries. One genre Scorsese is fairly into is the religion genre.
Back in 1988, Scorsese made ‘The Last Temptation of Christ‘, which won some awards and went on to be one of the most talked about movie of its time. Fast forward to present day and we have a brand new religious film from Scorsese called ‘Silence‘, based on the 1966 novel of the same name. This film is set in 17th century Japan where two Jesuit Portuguese priests travel to Japan in order to look for their missing fellow priest, who hasn’t been heard of in some time. This is cause for great concern, because Japan at the time, was against Christianity, and would kill people violently if they believed in the Christian God. Scorsese’s films usually clock in at around the three hour mark. With ‘Silence‘ is is about twenty minutes shy of that three hour milestone, but don’t be fooled by the short time stamp.
This is a very slow burn film, which takes its time going places. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing, but it’s not as fast paced as let’s say ‘Wolf of Wall Street‘. Scorsese has perfectly crafted a historical drama that captures every essence of the time period and location, as well as, having a strong message without being at all preachy or conforming to one religion, which is always most welcome. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play both Jesuit priests named Rodrigues and Garrpe respectively, as they trek to Japan secretly to find their mentor Ferreira played by Liam Neeson. Rodrigues and Garrpe must literally hide from everyone, with the exception of the very poor villagers who consider themselves Christians and hide them in a small hut.
Over time, both priests have to begin their search again for their missing fellow priest, but are captured and are mentally and physically tortured. Their captors aren’t all that bad in a sense, as they try to make Rodrigues understand where they are coming from, while trying to understand him. They stick by their word in that if the Christian believers just step on a stone that depicts their God, they can go free, but that isn’t always the case. Rodrigues is the focal point of the story here too as his faith is always tested in many different ways, until he realizes that he can still believe in something without shouting it to the world.
Neeson and Driver are excellent in their roles, but don’t have a lot of screen time, specifically Neeson. It’s a wonder he is top billed at all. Garfield is excellent here. His emotions are raw and true, however his Portuguese accent comes and goes throughout the movie. Scorsese framed this film perfectly as every shot looks beautiful and amazing, even with scenes that involve death. ‘Silence‘ for sure is a slow paced and long film, but the journey to the end is very rewarding, making this Scorsese film one to be remembered and proving at the age of 74, he can still put out amazing films and art that means something.