Silence is the latest film from Martin Scorsese, and tells the true story of two Priests, Father Rodrigues and Father Garrpe in the 17th century, who travel to Japan find their mentor after they receive a report that he has verbally renounced his faith. The Priests are put to the ultimate test of faith, as Christianity is outlawed in Japan, and their supporters are tortured and executed. Despite being about religion, I did not find this to be a religious film. It doesn’t feel preachy, and Scorsese treats this tragic story with respect and doesn’t hold back on the horrors that took place. This film will affect anyone, religious or not, as it is a portrayal of people suffering for what they believe, and it is from a director who has yet to make a film that hasn’t been a critical success. This film stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson.
Martin Scorsese once again shows that his direction skills are only improving with age. The Cinematography of this film is stunning and results in one of Scorsese’ best looking films. He uses chilling imagery, with long lingering shots and vibrant but dark colours, to create the sense of fear and dread, but also manages to show hope and resilience when it is necessary. However, this hope is few and far between. This film doesn’t hold back on the horrors of its subject matter, and so is very uncomfortable to watch at times, but this leaves an impression on you after the film finishes. It isn’t gratuitously gory, but emotionally scarring. The film also features a brilliantly written script with dialogue that feels genuine.
The film primarily follows Father Rodrigues, played by Andrew Garfield, and this might be the best performance of the year in a film filled with great performances. He shows a man being put through a terrible test and going through a crisis of faith. He starts confident and on top faith wise but by the end he is broken and shattered, a husk of what he used to be. It is a complex and heartbreaking character which Garfield delivers perfectly. I can’t wait to see Hacksaw Ridge after seeing this performance. Adam Driver is also perfect as Rodrigues’ partner Father Garrpe. He and Garfield’s chemistry make you care about these missionary’s. They aren’t lifeless machines of religion that we often imagine when we think of olden day Priests, but instead feel very human, so you can really connect with them. Liam Neeson also gave a very deep performance as Father Ferreira, the Priest that Garfield and Driver are searching for, despite not being in the film for that long. He was very memorable and quite saddening. The supporting cast and extra work were also incredible, and these performances brought out the heartbreak from their suffering.
My only real criticism is that the film is quite long and definitely feels long. It can slow down at times but never felt boring, as the slow parts are still building suspense, atmosphere and character. Just know that if you’re going to see it, it’s long, and sometimes feels a bit slow.
I thought Silence was a fantastic film that really had an impact on me. It is powerful and horrifying, and I believe it to be a really important film about persecution, which is still a huge issue today. On top of all that, the fantastic direction and amazing performances make Silence a must see film.
P.S. So I saw two films in two days and have booked tickets for a bunch of films coming up! Want to have time to mull this one over for a while though.