Martin Scorsese has created a new film that is quite a departure form his other filmography, showing that he is not afraid to take a gamble on something different.
Silence is a beautifully shot film, with amazing exterior shots, that focuses on a story that is as unexpected as it is haunting.
It is in the 1600s and there are two Portuguese Christian priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan to spread the word of Christianity, and to search for a missing priest (Liam Neeson) who has reputedly denounced the Christian faith publicly. Father Rodrigues (Garfield) could not believe his former mentor and teacher would ditch his religion and he spearheaded the trip to Japan.
However, the pair of priests faced opposition in Japan from the Buddhists, who saw the arrival of Christianity as a direct threat to their own religion and reacted violently to attempt to break those deeming themselves as Christians.
During the exceedingly long run time of the film, Father Rodrigues is captured by the Buddhists and they attempt to crush his faith and get him to denounce Christianity through several devastatingly tough, if not torturous, situations. Rodrigues shot the gamut among his beliefs as he struggled to come to terms with the silence to his prayers.
Let’s start off with Andrew Garfield. He is magnificent in this role. I think this might be a better performance than Hacksaw Ridge, which was a brilliant job by Garfield. Garfield really had to run the full range of emotions through this film and he did so with an amazing display of acting. This film follows Garfield’s character throughout and his personal struggles gives the audience the chance to support someone. His co-star Adam Driver gives a wonderful performance as well, one of the better performances I have seen out of our very own Kylo Ren.
As I said earlier, the movie was visually stunning and you can see how Scorsese really frames the story with breathtaking shots of the scenery.
Now, Silence does feel long, and tends to drag a little bit in the middle. They really try to set up Father Rodrigues as their own martyr and make him their own Jesus. There are a ton of religious implications here and I can understand if some people feel that this is too much religion. I do not think that they beat us over the head with religion, but I can see the argument.
There are some brutal aspects here too, which are very effective. It is amazing the horrible things that people will do in the name of their religion. There was a whole “putting their foot on a picture of Jesus” thing that did not seem to have the same feel to me as it seemed to have for the characters on screen. It was meant to show them discarding their faith, but it did not have the same gravitas for me than it seemed and that made me not feel what they intended.
Scorsese’s new film is very solid, but it does have a few flaws. Andrew Garfield is not one of them. He is brilliant here. Adam Driver is great. Liam Neeson does a very good job in a smaller role. The story is well told and beautiful looking. It is a haunting movie that can be very difficult to watch at times.