Silence (2016) | A Great Film That is Longer than It Should Be

Welcome to my first review of 2017! I was able to catch an advanced screening of Silence. Based on Shusaku Endo’s novel, Silence is about two Jesuit missionaries, Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) travel to Japan because they have heard that their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has publicly denounced God and they are trying to prove that rumor false. At the time, practicing Christianity in Japan, was an abomination. In their search for their missing mentor, they endure torture, suffering, and the ultimate test of faith.

Silence is as rich and complex as the story itself, even the violence is done in a artistic manner. Since the story is told through the eyes of Andrew Garfield’s character, you’ll find some of the shots from inside his prison cell, looking out, with the frame being in between the wooden bars and gives you a sense of being right there with him. The cinematography of Silence is raw and gorgeous. The set designs are beautiful and epic, and the use of natural sounds instead of a score is full of grace. From the gentle breeze, the crashing of waves, the rustling of bushes and trees, ironically, we only hear the natural works of God in a film where having belief in him will get you killed.

The entire cast in this movie is great. Liam Neeson isn’t in much of this film, but when he is the subtlety of his performance is outstanding. Specifically, his interaction with Andrew Garfield are well done, especially the moment when he sees Liam Neeson again. Andrew Garfield once again takes the role of a religious man who has his faith tested. Garfield dives deep into this character and you just can’t help but feel empathy for him. feel like every time I see him in something I gain a new respect for him as an actor. Dude was essentially the lead of the film and went to some dark places emotionally and physically that were by no means easy. It was a demanding role and Garfield rose to the challenge admirably. Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Yôsuke Kubozuka and the rest of the supporting cast were also excellent and I would have liked to see more of Adam Driver in this because his character didn’t have that much of an arch. Issei Ogata as the Inquisitor has a concrete performance full of life. He was funny, daring, intimidating, ruthless, and real. But I thought the character of Kichijiro became repetitive and annoying after a while. The pain I felt watching these Christians go through is indescribable. Seeing the way they were torture and knowing that are some Christians who are going through this in other countries in the present day, makes me feel blessed that I am able to practice my faith without restrictions. And most likely, you will feel the pain of all the Christians in this movie just by sitting through it.

Although this film is great, it’s not perfect.  By that I mean, you’ll need some serious stamina to get through the movie, it’s extremely long and at times can be very boring. It’s almost like Scorsese was trying to torture us so we can relate to the people on screen. Some parts feel a little repetitive too, especially after Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield split up. The beginning drags on a little too much and so does the end. The movie didn’t seem to know when to end after the protagonist makes his final-ish decision in the movie, the movie should have been over just a bit after, but instead, it kept going. The ending “reveal” was especially pointless telling us something we didn’t need to be told and would have been better if the film lets us doubt a bit.

Overall, Silence is Martin Scorsese’s way of paying respect to filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and I believe he succeeds in giving the audience a proper tribute. Sound off in the comments below if you have seen Silence yet and what are some of your favorite Martin Scorsese films? 

SUPERSAM RATING – 8/10.

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