Silence (I) (2016)
User ReviewsReview this title
It's a personal/religious epic, but it's all about the interior self - an intimate epic, which is always the toughest to pull off. Silence chronicles morality in such a way that is staggering and with very few specks of light (that is, brief relief through laughter - it does come through the character Kichijiro, more on him in a moment), and it's practically an anomaly to be released by a major studio with such a budget and big stars. This is a story that comes from history you rarely ever get to see anymore - history from a country like Japan that doesn't involve samurai (at least how we see them) and dealing with Christianity vs Buddhism - and it's directed with a level of vision, I mean in the true, eye-and-heart opening sense that declares that this man still has a lot to say, maybe more than ever, in his latter years.
Silence is, now pondering it hours after seeing it, possibly the best "faith-based" film ever made (or at least since Last Temptation of Christ); in its unintentional way, a great antidote to those pieces of garbage like God's Not Dead and War Room which preach only to a select few and insult the intelligence of everyone else. In this story of Jesuit priests who go on a journey to find a priest who may be long gone but could be found and brought home, it's meant for adults who can and should make up their own minds on religion and God, and the persecution part of it isn't some ploy from the filmmakers for fraudulent attention. This is about exploring what it means if you have faith, or how to question others who do, and what happens when people clash based on how people see the sun. Literally, I'm serious.
It's also heavier than most other films by this director, which is good but also tough to take on a first viewing. And yet it feels always like a Scorsese film, not only due to the rigorous craft on display (I could feel the storyboards simmering off on to the screen, I mean that as a compliment, this is staggeringly shot by Rodrigo Prieto, I'm glad Scorsese's found another guy), or the performances from the main actors (Garfield is easily giving his all, and not in any cheesy way, Driver's solid, Neeson seems to be paying some sort of penance for some mediocre action fare), but because of a key character: Kichijiro.
He's someone who really fits in to the Scorsese canon of characters who are so tough to take - he makes things difficult for Rodrigues, to say the least, and yet keeps coming back like some sad pathetic dog who can't make up his mind - but, ultimately, the toughest thing of all for this Father, as it must be for this filmmaker, is 'I know he is weak and irrational and probably bad in some way... but he must be loved as all of other God's children.' So as far as unsung performances for 2016 go, Yôsuke Kubozuka follows in a tradition set out by none other than De Niro (think of him in Mean Streets and Raging Bull, it's like that only not quite so angry).
I may need another viewing to fully grasp it. But for now, yes, see it, of course. For all its length and vigorous explorations and depictions of suffering (occasionally highly graphic), not to mention the, for Scorsese, highly unusual approach of a lack of traditional (or any) music or score, it's unlike anything you'll see in cinema this year, maybe the decade, for pairing the struggle of a man to reconcile his God and his responsibility to others in a repressive regime with the visual splendor of something from another time - maybe Kurosawa if he'd had a collaboration with Bergman. And yet for all of this high praise, there's also a feeling of being exhausted by the end of it. Whether that exhaustion extends to other viewings I'm not sure yet. As a life-long "fan" of this director, I was impressed if not blown away.
The story follows two priests from Portugal (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who venture into hostile Japanese country in search of their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who has abandoned his Christian faith. Some chalk it up to mere rumors. These two young ministers take the journey to find out for themselves.
What begins as a fairly traditional story ventures into the heart of Japan in the 16th Century with a sharp attention to both detail and horror. This is less a story of a search for one man as it is an odyssey into the despair found in conflicting religious beliefs. Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) holds hope that Ferreira is alive while also working to convert as many locals under cover of darkness. Upon landing on the shores of Japan (smuggled in on small fishing boats from China), he encounters villages of faithful Christians who worship in secret. For them, the arrival of Rodrigues and Father Garupe (Driver) is confirmation of their beliefs. Through language barriers, it seems that God is always present.
As we delve further into the country towards Nagasaki (where Ferreira is said to be held), the two priest break off on separate journeys. Rodrigues, though oftentimes alone, is shadowed by a Japanese recluse named Kichijiro, a drunk who once betrayed his faith in order to spare his life (he witnessed the execution of his entire family) but returns to the faith time again in order to make Confession and amends with the Lord. Rodrigues continues to absolve him, and yet this is the slow unraveling of an aspect of this story: do the Japanese really comprehend the religion in the same way Westerners do?
There are three people who make this movie better than average: Andrew Garfield surely gives one of the year's best performances as a man trapped in his own personal Hell, forced to grapple between martyrdom and eternal damnation. It's a strong year for Garfield, getting accolades and Oscar buzz for his other leading role in 'Hacksaw Ridge.' Trust me, this is the better performance. Second is the skill of Martin Scorsese, who slowly paints a portrait of a time long forgot with such attention to tone. It's a horrifying and at times morbid story to sit through, but there was never a moment I found myself any less than fully-focused and contemplative.
Third is a surprise, a breakthrough performance by a Japanese actor named Issey Ogata who gives without a doubt one of the year's most memorable performances. Throughout the film the Christians living in Japan are routinely inspected by samurai officials who intend to hunt down and capture any found citizens in violation of the law. One such official is Inoue Masashige (Ogata) who treats the job with a certain flair. Constantly waving a fan and with an ear to ear smile, this is a performance that steps above the rest of the cast by perfectly encapsulating the braggadocious nature of Japanese law without missing a beat. It's a winking devil performance that I hope the Oscars won't look over.
'Silence' is at times hard to palpate and yet rewards the audience for it's patience. Whether or not this film can be interpreted as being pro or anti-Catholic is maybe not the ultimate message of this film. While the final act delves into a horrifyingly-dark arena, consider the final shot before the credits begin to role (I won't spoil it). In such a brutal era with antiquated customs, isn't there still hope left to be found?
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.
Based on Shusaku Endo Edo's 1966 historical novel culled from the oral histories of Japanese Catholics, Martin Scorsese's masterful film Silence brings us face to face with the repression faced by the early missionaries. While the film does not condone the subjugation of religious minorities, it examines the advisability of attempting to convert a country's population without a deep understanding of their beliefs and traditions. The film opens in 1635 as two Jesuit priests, Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield, "Hacksaw Ridge") and Francesco Garrpe (Adam Driver, "Paterson"), request permission from their superior Father Valignano (Ciaran Hinds, "Bleed for This") to go to Japan to discover the fate of their mentor, Father Cistavio Ferreira (Liam Neeson, "A Monster Calls"), rumored to have renounced his faith and to be living with a Japanese wife.
The missionaries are not unaware of the persecution and murder of thousands of peasants and priests who have converted to Christianity, yet they are anxious to undertake their dangerous mission to support the local Christians and to find out the truth about Father Ferreira. When they arrive in Japan they are greeted by a group of "hidden Christians" known as "kakure kirishitan" who have been compelled to publicly renounce their faith and go into hiding to practice their faith in secret, knowing that anyone can earn 100 pieces of silver for turning in a Christian to the authorities and 300 pieces for surrendering a priest. Here, the two priests hear confessions and give baptisms and say mass in the middle of the night In order to avoid capture.
Working with such past collaborators as Editor Thelma Schoonmaker ("Learning to Drive"), Production Designer Dante Ferretti ("Cinderella"), and Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto ("The Wolf of Wall Street"), Scorsese does not hold back in showing the graphic nature of the torture that those who are arrested must endure. This includes beheadings, being wrapped in straw and burned alive or thrown into the sea. Some are mounted on a cross and placed in the sea until death comes mercifully after repeated pounding of the waves against them. For some, to die a martyr is a high calling, one which will be rewarded in the afterlife and they accept their fate willingly similar to today's Islamic suicide bombers.
Rodrigues, however, now separated from Garrpe, takes on a Christ-like appearance and begins to see himself as the personification of Jesus. He now must choose between rigidly maintaining his religious beliefs or saving the lives of innocent villagers by surrendering to the audacious Inquisitor (Issey Ogata) by placing his foot on a carved Christian icon known as a fumie, an act tantamount to renouncing his faith. In doing so, Rodrigues thinks about Kichijiro (Yôsuke Kubozuka, "Deadman Inferno"), a convert who continually begs for the Sacrament of Penance after he apostasizes again and again. The issues are further crystallized when Rodrigues confronts the truth about Father Ferreira.
While Silence does not fully achieve the transcendence of a true spiritual epic, Scorsese should be acknowledged for opening up the space for a meaningful inquiry into a subject that has perplexed countless philosophers and students of religions for centuries. Perhaps inadvertently, the film, however, does shine a light on the inadequacy of both secular materialism and fundamentalist religion to satisfy our true spiritual needs and answer the overriding question of the film. This must be answered by each person through their own direct experience. For me, to know God is to embrace the silence, to live in it, and know that it is the "source of all sound."
Next, plans are approved to start searching for one missing priest. It's the duty of two young priests to locate him, save him, maybe even do a little Christian work to save and enlighten a few souls. This is where the problem begins: There's something sloppy about the way the quest is introduced, and we have three characters who don't seem to even believe whatever comes of their mouths. One looks doubtful, the other is eager but his his eyes don't project any fire, and one seems to have wandered from another period, setting, and faith, maybe even another picture. He looks militant, irascible, doubtful this will have a positive ending. It seems as if he knows this is all futile--their enterprise and maybe the whole act of watching this film.
When the two young men arrive in Japan, our own torture begins, as we listen to dialog that is both incomprehensible and stilted. Never we get into believing that these people have any commitment to anyone but themselves. I'm not sure if it is the acting, the directing, the endless scenes that appear to go in circles, never revealing or truly pulling all the different layers of a complex theme. The setting is dark, grungy, inhospitable, and very foreign. It is never clear why they decide to start their journey in the middle of the winter, or what appears to be the very foggy season in this island. It becomes annoying.
Bring on the never ending series of psychological, physical, and amazingly, very little exploration of theological questions. In "The Last Temptation of Christ" one is willing to overlook some strange casting choices because the central figure is powerful, and well played by DeFoe, giving us a new perspective of what one of the most famous people in history must have gone through. Here, Rodriguez looks lost, both within the story, and Garfield is never anything but a selfish, whiny, and sick looking man of the cloth. I couldn't help thinking about the other long suffering fictional character of the year, Lee in "Manchester by the Sea". At least, we had a solid portrayal of pain, guilt, and impotence. "Silence" doesn't even give you a hint of any of those emotions.
In addition, the length of the film is unbearable. Much doesn't happen for minutes. We have shots of the surroundings, conversations that highlight the redundancy that weakens the film. It is not as if there was nothing to discuss or explain. It felt like a jackhammer kept going and going, keeping us from engaging, from developing any sort of rhythm and connection to the material. The depiction of the torture and persecution never stopped, getting to the point that the ordeal of the troops captured by the Japanese in a recent World War II film appeared more like a prank by a bully. The torture scenes are not something to avoid because they're too graphic; however it feels like the ones being tortured are the members of the audience because we either have to suffer through the weak dialog which goes nowhere or another way in which the bad guys show their bad qualities, and/or, the Christians keep experiencing hell.
There is a very reliable team behind the production. Sadly, there is also a pervasive realization that nothing really works. Landscapes and close ups are admirable in their clarity but drained of any emotions. The lack of musical score is jarring making the "silence" way too overbearing and boring. Costumes and sets might be accurate but feel empty because the characters are poorly presented, and I was wondering where the editor went because we could have easily removed 1/2 of the film, and we would have gotten the same amount of pertinent information. The only scenes that appeared to really work involve Liam Nesson, an actor whose presence and delivery allows us to have an idea of what really is going on. To make matters even worse, this makes every other performer look even worse.
If anyone wants to see how spirituality can be shown, with and without the explicit reference to a particular faith, through beautiful cinematography and the perfect marriage of sound and visuals, check Mallick's "The New World". For now, some real silence seems more than appropriate.
I didn't know much about the history of the Jesuit priests who traveled all the way to Japan. I did know that some Japanese converted to Christianity, but I didn't know there were that many. So, I was very surprised by that. It does explain a lot though. I understand more of the reasons why a civil war started in Japan that would ultimately lead to any foreigner being banned from the country. It's actually very interesting how the Japanese Christians almost feel more faithful than a lot of the European characters.
This film explores both the beauty and the horrors of humans and their faiths. There are many beautiful calm scenes where you can relax and admire the stunning sets and locations. Then there are many scenes that will make you nervous, emotional and horrified because of the cruel punishments that some people must endure.
Religion is an interesting subject matter and everyone has their own different view and opinion on it. I still haven't finished processing this film yet, but I'll tell you this; it's something that will stay on your mind for a while. It makes you think about a lot of things. Like what's right and wrong about the different views brought up in the film? And how would things have been different if everyone would have accepted each others beliefs? And even if they didn't believe in the same thing, could they all still live in peace?
It's not an action packed adventure, but more of a spiritual journey with exploration about morals, history and so much more. I thought it was wonderful, but do see it if you can and judge for yourself.
It is just WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. TOO. LONG. Three hours of relentless torture, persecution, despair, poverty, brutality, murder, betrayal, and then more of the same, was just too much, and Scorsese really should have made a 60 minute documentary rather than a movie. Yes, there are moments of lightness (two, we counted), and a brief sequence of hope and purposes where one of the padres felt like he was making a difference to the bleak poverty of the lives of Japanese villagers. Other than that, this movie is one inevitable, ghastly, slow slide to apostasy. On occasions, Mr Scorsese, I want my movies to give hope, humour, courage and good things, and your movie gave none of those.
I had high hopes for this: Neeson, Garfield and Scorsese made it an attractive proposition. However, an hour into the movie and I was ready to leave. The plot was muddy and laborious, and Scorsese insisted on showing us short imagistic fragments that led nowhere.
Two last gripes. Firstly, the idea that medieval rural Japanese villagers would be able to speak English (or Portuguese as the narrative language) is ridiculous. Secondly, why oh why did Scorsese make us sit through the credits before the house lights came on? A few more minutes of tedium? Whatever you wanted, it didn't work.
It gets 2/10 for the cinematography and nothing else.
Unless you are a fan of medieval Japanese torture and murder techniques, don't both watching this. Some movies stay with you for days, weeks, months, a lifetime. This one you will want to forget asap and move quickly to something more edifying.
I expected that in telling a story set 400 years ago, Scorsese would provide some kind of modern day insight (psychological, political,sexual) to the true events depicted in his narrative. Instead, all I could glean was that this was a film by a devout Catholic, about devout Catholics. Who would have thought Scorsese was possessed by such primal and dogmatic religious feelings?
Shockingly, the Japanese culture is referred to more than once as a 'swamp' where nothing truly spiritual, much less Catholic, can grow. The inquisitor who persecutes the Catholics is portrayed by a lizardy actor with a high pitched voice, doing what I guess is the Japanese equivalent of a moustache-twirling villain. Cruelty, execution and torture take up a large part of the picture, and while accurate I suppose, is probably no worse that what was done by the Catholic inquisition in Europe.
I was hoping for some kind of statement about religious fanaticism, and at one point, when a Buddhist is trying to reason with the priest, asking why it isn't better to focus on the common elements of the world's different religions, I thought the film was going in that direction. But it ends on an 'upbeat' religious note, when it is revealed that the priest held onto his faith in the Catholic god right up to the end. The film was premiered at The Vatican which says a lot about where it's coming from. There is a dedication to the priests and converts in Japan.
I wasn't impressed by Andrew Garfield in the central role. I felt like he was miscast, so it's mostly not his fault - too young and modern (and who kept his hair so coiffed in the first half of the movie?). Adam Driver was excellent as always, but not sure why he felt he needed to lose all that weight for the role, he was really skinny and sunken-eyed. Liam Neeson, also miscast with his very tall stature and hard-to- disguise Irishness was good in a thankless role. The Japanese actors (except for the inquisitor) were fine, but most of their characters were never really developed into anything more than simple-minded worshippers or cruel torturers.
And it is LONG. 45 minutes would have easily captured this story and done so with more suspense (less dragging foreshadowing) and more horror. By the time each act of torture happens, everyone but the stupidest priest who ever lived knows exactly what is going to happen and it loses its effect. Speed this up, and it might be compelling. Right now, it is like a third grade story...and then...and then...and then...and then...we have to see every moment in time of the whole freaking story.
If this film had any other director, it would never ever ever see the light of day in a theatre. And awards? Really shameful pandering, a mockery of great film making and a great director, who went off the rails with this.
Yes, the methods used by the Japanese government were cruel, but were no crueller than what Christians were doing to each other at the time. The Thirty Years War between Catholics and Protestants was an ongoing bloodbath.
The missionaries were excellent marketers, skilled in the double-whammy approach - first sell 'em Sin, then sell 'em Salvation, the missionaries being the indispensable middle-men. So thousands of Japanese died because they swallowed the missionaries' self-serving mumbo-jumbo.
I had hoped that the film would be more nuanced, exploring the rights and wrongs of missionising. Instead Scorcese chooses to do a propaganda piece - glorifying brave, noble missionaries against the cruel Japanese government.
Not a great film.
"Silence" is a film directed by Martin Scorcese that shows how cruel a man can be. Based on historical facts, "Silence" show the powerful Shogunate defending their religion and culture against the European Catholicism that promises easy paradise to the suffered Japanese workers that has to work lot to pay the taxes and survive. The result is a good, but too long and tiresome film. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Silêncio" ("Silence")
Based on Shusaku Endo's novel, SILENCE is about two Jesuit missionaries who travel to Japan because they have heard that their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has publicly denounced God. At the time, Christianity was outlawed in Japan, so in their search for their missing mentor, they endure torture, suffering, and the ultimate test of faith.
In a way you could say that SILENCE is Martin Scorsese's way of paying respect to the legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa especially for us fans who grew up watching old time Japan's samurai classics, although SILENCE is not action-driven obviously, but the authoritarian rule depicted in this film is definitely something that's culturally based on that particular era.
From technical standpoint, SILENCE is as rich and complex as the story itself, even the violence is done in a graphic yet artistic manner. Because the story is told through Andrew Garfield's Father Rodrigues' perspective, you'll find some of the shots from inside his prison cell, looking out, with the frame being in between the wooden bars, to be quite engrossing. It makes the tension all the more real because your mind just keeps racing, you don't know how much more gruesome it would get. Odd to say this but it sort of becomes a point of anticipation, it's as if every other half-hour or so, you know some Christians are going to get tortured and so you're just bracing for impact. Martin Scorsese's ever-so-reliable high standard quality filmmaking is present through and through, so there's no disappointing you there.
After being religious and full of conviction in "Hacksaw Ridge" as a Seventh-Day Adventist, actor Andrew Garfield becomes religious and full of conviction again, this time in "Silence" and what's interesting is that both films feature Japanese people. All that aside, this is yet another evidence of Garfield's commitment to his work, the same goes for Adam Driver and Liam Neeson who not only went through physical changes, you actually feel a bit concerned for their health, but that conviction is shown in their eyes. It's amazing to see how this former Spider-Man quickly this powerful force. The Japanese actors are equally outstanding, especially Issey Ogata whose performance has his own flamboyant way of being ruthless.
This is Scorsese's long passion project, he had been wanting to do this film for years, but the question remains, and those of you who've watched the film are probably wondering it as well. And my answer is no, I don't think SILENCE means to demonize Buddhism. If this film is Scorsese's way of promoting Christianity, then that is his prerogative. But throughout mankind's history, there had been many cases in many lands where the majority religion, whatever religion that maybe, persecutes the minority religion because they view them as a dangerous threat; a symbol of a potential takeover. Inquisitions have happened everywhere. Which leads me back to what I said earlier about how SILENCE reminds me a lot of "The Last Temptation Of Christ," we see men who are supposed to be like rocks, seemingly falter and start to question their faith, but perhaps questioning your faith is one way of reaffirming it. Liam Neeson's character in this film has a counter argument to Andrew Garfield's Rodrigues and he may make a bit of sense if you see it from his version of truth.
-- Rama's Screen --
The movie seemed to force the viewer to the conclusion that Christianity was the best thing for Japan without explaining how Christianity was in-congruent with Japanese Culture and Social Structure of the time. I began to wonder, are the beliefs implied by this movie born out empirically? A quick survey of Modern Japan today says no. Despite all the strife of the Christian Missionaries in "Silence", a mere 1% of Japanese are Christian today. Apparently the writers overlooked core Japanese culture in the making of this movie.
A more pertinent theme would take place in the Modern Middle East where massive numbers of Christians are being murdered in the modern world and ignored by the Media.
The case of a few Missionaries in Japan back in the 1600's is intriguing only if we study and compare the influences of Bushido and Christianity to the Social/Political normalities of the time.
The 1980's Mini Series Shogun delivered this and far more drama than you'll ever find in "Silence".
I don't know why. The film is too long (much too long), too repetitive and too superficial in its treatment of the central issue of religious faith. The acting is uninspired. None of the characters awoke my sympathy. Japanese men speaking good English to Portuguese priests was just weird. Scorcese combines all this with gruesome torture scenes and monsoon weather to reach his full numbing effect. The only redeeming feature was the music: there wasn't any.
It used to mean something when someone said "it's a Martin Scorsese film". Does this now mean it's long and boring?
How can anyone who invested 2 hrs and 41 min not say this was way to long and could have gotten the message across in a comfortable say.. 1 hour?
Such a waste of talent. No big story here, the summary accounts for the almost 3 gruelling hours of boredom with no real message, although the one I did get made this even more of a time-waster.
How can this be rated so high? Is society that bored and have that much time to waste on non-entertainment?
Save yourself, you've read the summary, you're better off moving onto another movie.
This is well-made, beautifully executed and constructed but, boy, is it boring. Sorry, that should be Boring with a capital B.
I'm not against religious movies per se but they need to have something to say and, preferably, say it with a new angle or at least with interest. Yes, please say it in an interesting way! Jesuit priests trying to convert 17th century Japan? If you're not a die-hard Jesuit you may wonder WTF but that's what they did in those days.
The high IMDb score is because it's Scorsese and Liam Neeson is in it (a bit), not because it's a brilliant movie. It's not. If you want preaching, read the Bible, otherwise go watch something else. Anything, probably.
I think that the best way to explain my thoughts on this film are to start by explaining my history with legendary director Martin Scorsese. Whilst I think that "The Departed" is a top-notch film and find "Hugo" to be a really well told tale, I have rarely had the pleasure to enjoy his films. That's just how it is. From the 1970s right down to his latest efforts I have always had a really hard time with Scorsese and I have grown to actively dislike some of his films, whilst still finding something to mine and appreciate in them.
I find that there is a common thread with what I come to dislike in his pictures. Firstly, I have always had a hard time in keeping up with his third acts, from "Cape Fear" to "Goodfellas" I have always carried myself through to the ending forcefully and have rarely appreciated his climaxes. I have always felt them as meandering and over long, not really getting to a point. Which brings me to my biggest problem, with the exceptions listed above, I have never left a Scorsese feature with something to take with me, I've never had a payoff, his films have generally left me cold and empty, his thematic explorations have often frustrated me and given me not much to appreciate.
I once felt like this must be a coincidence, but the pattern has repeated itself too many times for it to be considered so, "Silence" being no the confirmation and actually embodying the worst about my criticisms. This is a religious slog-fest that made me angry in its self importance and complete nonsensical length.
Now, I don't want to appear like I'm a jerk, whilst everything I said above is true I can't help but have anything but respect for Scorsese, he is a giant of cinema, his achievements are overwhelming, it just so happens that he really has a hard time in matching my taste and whilst he managed to get really on my nerves here, in particular, because of some of the thematic messages, I still find in all of his pictures a lot to appreciate.
For one, "Silence" has a great first half, the drama with the characters is alive and touching, the portrayal of 17th century Japan is raw and unnerving, the atmosphere that is captured is genuinely unsettling. The point of view that is established in this first half is not a religiously inflated one, what is moving about it is how we witness the hatred that man can be brought to and the contrast with the innocence in the Japanese farmers is ever so captivating.
Driver and Garfield really fuel the drama with some remarkably intense performance work that manages to not call attention to itself. Their journey is unpredictable and the recreation of the chaos and the poverty of the time really hits home. The cultural differences are explored on a visual level other than a thematic one and it makes for some really good viewing, I will fully admit that up to the hour and forty five mark I was following the drama attentively.
On a technical level the film does have some fantastic production design, but for the rest there is something that really stands out as being remarkable, probably a reason for which the last hour becomes so overbearingly boring.
Then comes the last hour, which shatters to pieces everything achieved before, changing perspective and escalating in melodramatic, masturbatory, religious bullsh*t with an ending that proves its aimlessness and disgusting self-importance. The drama just turns off, it evolves in a discussion that has no heads nor tails, to the point that I felt like it was contradicting itself at times. The ending is abysmal, ridiculous and trivial in a way that made me stand up and leave the cinema angrily without even waiting for the first credits which I always do.
If I am listening to a full hour of religious debate which combines ethical and moral complexities to it and I am left utterly bored and empty there is something that is worryingly wrong about the film for me. I was lost for words, every word that was uttered was a further step down for the film, a real disgrace because for a good portion it was going for something an succeeding at it, then came the rest of the feature and made me sick with boredom and anger.
You can all read the plot elsewhere. Instead of this being a "rescue" film, it is a racist tirade against the Japanese's ill-tolerance to the invading Christian missionaries, who when are denounced suddenly become the "persecuted".
I was so close to walking out three or four times at the sheer blatantness of the arrogance and complete offensiveness of the plot (and some dialogue). This is a fictional story, but I would fully believe that this could have happened. Not to mention the very obvious ending. *eyeroll*
Seriously have lost much respect of Andrew Garfield for agreeing to do this.
This film is basically encouragement to those who think that they have a right to force their personal faith onto others at any cost. AVOID!!!.... and if you must see it, find a free ticket or just download it.
"Silence" was a film that Scorsese spent the past few decades trying to make and even though it took him such a long time to bring this powerful story to the big screen I'm just glad that it got made. "Silence" is adapted from the novel of the same name by Japanese author, Shusaku Endo. I read the book and loved it and the movie is just as up to par as the book. This is one of the best adaptations of a book I've ever seen, the movie has all the plot points, themes, and messages the book had and brought it to the screen flawlessly.
The acting in this film is phenomenal. Every person in this film is on the top of their game no matter how big or small their role was in this film. Andrew Garfield's performance in "Silence" better get him that golden statue because he gave such a powerful and emotionally draining performance to the point that I forgot that I'm even watching a movie. Seeing Liam Neeson actually give a dramatic and emotional performance was great, it was nice to see him take his time to be in this film and not go off and do another mediocre action movie.
The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous in this film and there's not one shot that feels out of place or out of focus. Scorsese directs the hell out of this movie and never loses focus one bit, he better get nominated for best director for the Oscars.
One thing I will say about "Silence" is that it is very long and very hard to watch at times. Considering that the film is about the test of one man's faith automatically seems like an emotionally draining film, it's nowhere what you thought you'd imagine while watching this film. You see our protagonist (Garfield) go through hell and back while watching and experiencing such horrific things. There were times where I teared up and there were times where I grimaced, and there were times where I just wanted to see the suffering end. If there were to be another title of this film it would be called "Suffering", no joke.
What else can I say, Scorsese pulls another masterpiece out of the box and deserves all the credit he deserves for just making this film alone. If you love Scorsese's work I highly suggest you to go see "Silence" because this is one of his finests without a doubt.