The story of two Catholic missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) - at a time when Catholicism was outlawed and their presence forbidden.
The second film based on the novel of the same name. The first was a Japanese production, Chinmoku (1971), released in 1971, five years after the book was published. See more »
Adam Driver plunges into the sea to save some threatened souls and begins to swim using a stroke popularly known as the Australian crawl, a technique not developed until about 200 years later. See more »
Masterful In Craft & Rich In Experience, But Dreary In Nature
To this day, Martin Scorsese remains my all-time favourite director, a man whose approach to cinema completely differs to others in Hollywood, his appreciation towards cinema as an art form is his finest quality in what makes him arguably the greatest film director around. With 'Silence' promoted as Scorsese's 20-year passion project, it was a film I couldn't resist seeing, the legend back behind the camera focusing on a subject not fully studied in cinema, a subject that's mostly misunderstood.
I want to start with my conclusion and go from there. 'Silence' won't be everybody's film, the same way other ambitious films like 'The Revenant' or 'The Tree of Life' weren't, however despite my respect to Scorsese's mastery and level of detail, in my own honest opinion I believe this film fell short due to the lack of insight into it's main theme and thus instead transformed into a slow and somewhat dreary tale that arguably didn't need it's near 3-hour running time to tell its tale.
Now don't get me wrong, in regards to the film's craft it is a masterpiece, the cinematography is raw and epic, the direction from Scorsese is phenomenal and the set design is gorgeous. Accompanying this are a series of fine performances, most notably from Andrew Garfield who should receive monumental praise for his role, I haven't seen such a visceral performance in years, the raw emotion is uncanny. But unfortunately the technicalities and craft can't cover up the flaws that lie in the running time and the tediously slow plot that didn't want to end.
If there's anything I can leave you with from this review to help you decide as to whether it's a worthy watch or not, let me just say this: 'Silence' isn't a piece of entertainment, it's instead an experience; and whilst a technically masterful one at that, many audience members may find themselves slowly drifting off to sleep - as my neighbour in the cinema did. It isn't really a case of liking it or disliking it, it's more a case of the adventure, and despite my partial disappointment with it, the adventure was more than worthy enough for the viewing. Scorsese is still an exquisite auteur, flaws or not.
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