CAST: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds, Liam Neeson
DIRECTION: Martin Scorsese
DURATION: 2 hours 41 minutes
Director Martin Scorsese’s latest film ‘Silence’ revolves around the story of two Jesuit priests who travel to Japan as they seek to locate their mentor who is rumored to have apostatized.
An adaptation of a Japanese novel of the same name, the central theme of ‘Silence’ is the exploration of faith — a personal experience unique to each individual. It’s no surprise then, that it will prove to be a different outing for each viewer.
From the very first frame, the beauty of this film’s cinematography is evident. Rodrigo Prieto’s Academy Award nomination is well deserved; there are some astounding shots that will make you wonder how they were blocked and lit. Even scenes depicting excruciating torture are interspersed with gorgeous landscapes and camerawork that compel you to be fixated through its lengthy runtime. Directors of photography will study this film for years to come, along with theologians who will have a field day with each character’s perspective of belief. The extent to which Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) is tested – mentally, physically and spiritually, is downright harrowing. Rodrigues and Father Francisco (Adam Driver), are put through hellish conditions as they try to find Father Ferriera (Liam Neeson) – the man who mentored them.
Both Driver and Neeson have supporting roles that they do ample justice to, but it is Andrew Garfield who is tasked with all the heavy lifting. Although he struggles with the responsibility at times, Garfield is compelling enough as he ranges from dealing with his Messiah complex to questioning the very nature of his faith as his prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. Besides these leading Hollywood actors, the rest of the cast is largely Japanese and each of them delivers a gripping performance – yet another testament to Scorsese’s caliber as a director. Another significant character is the soundtrack, or the lack thereof. Alluding to the title, silence has never been more deafening, especially during pivotal moments as your visual senses become more alert due to the lack of auditory input.
Martin Scorsese invested over 25 years into this ‘passion project’ but he inadvertently alienates his audience on numerous occasions, largely due to some undeniable flaws in its narrative structure, and lengthy pacing that can be agonizing to casual moviegoers. Bound to result in polarizing opinions, ‘Silence’ is one of Scorsese’s most intimate works that cannot be ignored.
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