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I’ve been looking forward to Silence since I first heard about it well over a few years ago, and I was finally lucky enough to see it! It was my seventh most anticipated film of 2016, and it was all because of Martin Scorsese. I didn’t need to know who was in this film, and I didn’t need to know what it was about. I was excited because of the man behind the camera. Without wasting any more time, let’s talk about Silence!
Silence is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson. Two Christian missionaries have their faith put to the ultimate test when they must travel to Japan, a land where Christianity is unaccepted, to find a member of The Church who is believed to have given up the faith. Through experience, dreams, and divine intervention, can the two missionaries keep their faith in the most difficult of times?
Well, I can say one thing. This isn’t your typical Scorsese movie. I know that you’re probably expecting that from the trailers, but I can’t say that enough. In fact, this isn’t your typical movie at all. Silence is based on a novel, but as a film, it’s something I can really say I haven’t seen before. It feels so fresh and original, and that’s really something I have to praise. You can tell that Martin Scorsese has so much passion for this film because Silence has near-perfect direction. Everything is so beautifully shot, and though you aren’t going to see gangsters in this movie, you are going to see what Scorsese can do with a camera and just how meticulous his filmmaking is. Every single shot is absolutely beautiful. One thing I love about Martin Scorsese is that he doesn’t need to show off a ten minute-long take to put his camera work on display. His shots, even still frames, are beautifully lit, spaced, and colored. You feel passion and dedication oozing off the screen, and I really respect that about Silence. Next, I have to mention one of the biggest warning signals I had coming in, and that’s the length. I was so surprised that I didn’t feel the length in a 161 minute movie. It was so well-paced and fascinating, and the internal battle of the main character sucks you in emotionally. Earlier this year we saw Andrew Garfield go through an internal battle over his faith in Hacksaw Ridge, and once again, we’re seeing another incredible depiction of the battle that people go through when it comes to life and faith. Not everyone experiences that battle in the way Garfield did in this movie, but you really latch on to what he’s going through, and all of the characters are so well-fleshed out. Just as Hacksaw Ridge was, Silence isn’t about showing the audience a certain faith. It’s about putting this character and his internal and external conflicts in a spotlight, and it does it in a magnificent way. Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson are all chameleonic in this film, and I completely stopped seeing them as actors. I just saw the characters and these men who so strongly believed in, and battled with, their faith. I could definitely see an Oscar nomination for Andrew Garfield. He goes through one of the most drastic changes I’ve seen this year on emotional, mental, and physical levels. I loved his character arc, and Garfield really became this character. Next, this movie has one of the best villains we’ve seen this year. He is called The Inquisitor, and the level of fear and mental torture he causes is riveting and unnerving, but we also see where he’s coming from. He’s another man simply, or not so simply, trying to convey his thoughts and ideas, just in a much different way. I would definitely consider this Martin Scorsese’s epic. He’s not known for epics, but if Scorsese was to take on a story like Ben-Hur, it would be Silence. I don’t mean the 2016 iteration of Ben-Hur. I would say that this movie resembles the 1959 Ben-Hur that is considered one of the most epic films of all time. Silence is a fantastic film, and it’s because of what Scorsese did with it.
If I had to pick something I didn’t like about the movie it would be where some of the characters arcs take certain characters. This is an extremely subjective negative, but I would have liked to have seen some characters take a different route. I was typically fine with the final result, but sometimes I either wanted to see more or didn’t love the route that was taken. Again, it’s an extremely subjective negative, and it is something that may even change upon repeat viewings.
Overall, Silence is one of Scorsese’s best films. It’s so clean, precise, and meticulous, and that’s where Scorsese excels. He doesn’t need extremely long takes to show off his camerawork. He and his cinematographer will get together and make a beautiful, detail-oriented film that oozes with passion and effort. Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson are all mind-blowing and chameleonic, and I could definitely see an Oscar nomination or even a win in February coming for one of the three. Silence is a movie that tests people and their beliefs. I don’t think it’s exclusive to the characters. I think it puts a mirror to the audience and asks the question while also being emotionally wrecking and fascinating. Scorsese has made his epic, and it’s one of his best-made films of his incredible career. This is a guy who has made some of my favorite films of all time, and I would still say that Silence is one of the cleanest and best-made. I’m going to give Silence a 9/10.
Will you be seeing Silence? Comment down in the comments and let me know! That should be pretty close to finishing our run of Oscar contender reviews, so let me know what some of your favorite movies of the year have been! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!
All images courtesy of Paramount Pictures