A thoughtful, harrowing tale.
Silence, Martin Scorsese’s hard-fought passion project, is a relatively under-the radar film. Its publicity has been…silent.
It is a shame, though, that more people don’t know about this movie. It is beautifully shot, honestly acted, and handles its subject matter with unwavering wisdom.
The movie follows the journey of Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garupe (Adam Driver), two Jesuit priests who travel to feudal Japan to find Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who has supposedly apostatized.
I usually write my reviews immediately after I watch the movies, so that everything is fresh in my mind. I waited for almost two days, though, to write one for Silence. I did that because I couldn’t decide what I thought about the film.
On one hand, I could describe it as boring, exposition-heavy, and overlong. I wouldn’t judge anyone who thought about the film this way.
On the other hand, I could describe it as assured, touching, wise, spellbinding, and memorable.
I have to admit, I’m leaning towards the latter.
The film rests heavily on themes that deal with faith: the loss of it, why we have it, the point of keeping it, and things that make us question it. It also focuses on the subjectivity and moral ambiguity of humanity.
I found these themes alone, in their presentation and exploration, to be engaging enough to keep me hooked. As someone who was raised in a religious home and whose views have evolved over the years, the film resonated and brought back inner battles that I had with myself over faith.
The atrocities committed in the film are shown as inconsequential, leading the characters to question their deeply held beliefs. It is brutal to watch, yet every time it happens, the characters move on like nothing happened, with no sign of hope.
The film’s technical aspects are mesmerizing
The cinematography is sweeping yet intimate, the color pallet creates a beautiful, humid, and foreboding landscape, and the sound mixing goes hand in hand with the film’s title.
These elements blend together to create a dreary atmosphere that reflects the exhaustion and plight of the characters.
The performances of the actors are admirable, and Scorsese’s Japanese cast members deliver varied and heartbreaking performances.
Andrew Garfield delivers a performance that will remain among his career bests, and he’s lifted up by Scorsese’s hand.
Silence may bore you, but if you can make it through, it will make you think, and it might even make you question. Most of all, it will stick with you.