Based on the 1966 novel of the same name, Silence is truly one of Martin Scorsese’s greatest movies. This was the first film I saw in 2017, and I feel it couldn’t have been a better choice. Silence is not your typical Scorsese film, and one doesn’t immediately get the sense that they are watching a flick by the Goodfellas director. This is a very powerful, character-driven story that displays the strength of belief that man can have, as well as the compromises one must make against opposing views.
Silence follows a young Portuguese Jesuit named Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield in a stellar performance) who is sent to Japan in search of another priest, Ferreira, played by Liam Neeson. Rodrigues is accompanied on this journey by Garrpe, played amazingly by Adam Driver– a very different role from Kylo Ren that gives him a chance to show impressive range as an actor. The range of emotion shown by Garfield throughout, also, is truly amazing. After watching this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a heavy Oscar contender.
This is a stark departure from what has seemed to become the norm of modern cinema, where instead of being driven by character and story, they are driven by spectacle. While the effects in this movie are truly impressive, they exist to help you live in the world that Scorsese created through the story, which is one that will truly create a discussion around belief, regardless of your own personal beliefs and opinions. It’s riveting to see two cultures clash, and how, at its core, the resolution doesn’t come from religious views. It comes down to the beliefs of one single person and how he survives while being tested in some of the most appalling ways possible, and the compromises and changes he must make to simply keep breathing.
The cinematography is beautiful throughout Silence and Japan is a truly beautiful backdrop, with stellar sweeping views of the countryside and its villages displaying a living, breathing, 17th century Japan. The pacing, as well, is incredibly executed. Opposed to (most) modern popcorn flicks, Silence is not a fast-paced roller coaster ride. However, Scorsese’s film manages not to drag or leave you bored, as there is constant development with the characters- each of which come across as flawed and realistic, driving this movie forward.
All in all, Silence is a truly amazing film that you will be discussing long after you leave the theater. With masterful direction, brilliant performances, and a brave story, this is a film you don’t want to miss.