Back in the day when films like Ben-Hur or The Bridge on the River Kwai were the films to top the box office, sweeping epics were the box office gold that studios were looking for. That style of filmmaking just doesn't seem to be around very much anymore, at least in big-budget productions. Having said that, Martin Scorsese has been working on making Silence a reality for quite some time now, and in my opinion, whether or not this film crushes at the box office or not, this truly is a display of incredible filmmaking that shouldn't be missed. There is a reason it gained so much buzz around the festivals it played at, due to the fact that it's another near masterpiece from director Martin Scorsese. Here is why Silence is one of the best films of 2016.
Beginning With Hope
From the few opening scenes, it was clear that this film was going to provide as much hope as possible. Following two priests who travel to Japan in search for their mentor, Father Ferreira, they also hope to promote the Catholic religion. In doing so, they are exposed to the harshness of Buddhism and must hide from or succumb to their ways. Throughout the first act of Silence, it makes it seem as though it will be an incredible journey of discovery, with a large amount of hope that they will be able to find their mentor and bring him home. Instead, these two men are forced to hide, held up in jail cells, made to watch beheadings, and suffer more spiritually than physically. In this incredibly heartbreaking story, it is these two men, Rodriguez (Andrew Garfield) in particular, who help to restore the faith in the audience.
A Passion For Religion
Martin Scorsese directs this religious epic in a way that feels very classic, almost like Bergman or Welles. Silence marks his 25th directorial effort, and it may very well rank among the very top of his work. Not showing any signs of fatigue as far as his filmmaking styles go, he is proving himself to be someone worth following for at least another decade or more. His autueristic feel throughout most of his films does seem to be slightly absent here, but he does also seem to be taking pointers from classic directors from the beginning of cinema. I absolutely loved every second of his work here and his screenplay, along with writer Jay Cocks was astounding.
Everything Happens For A Reason
The one thing that every moviegoer should be hoping for when going to the cinema, is that there are no scenes that pad out the run time for the sake of making a film longer. When you can have every single scene move your story forward and believable, then you truly have a great film on your hands. Silence does exactly that and then some. Even in the moments where characters are sitting in a room talking for over ten minutes, almost every line of dialogue is necessary for the story at hand. I found myself completely engrossed in every moment. Andrew Garfield, with the company of Adam Driver, give terrific performances, making this tale much more gut-wrenching in the final act. This truly is a film about acceptance and it rarely every has any signs of joy. Silence is a lot to take in, but its slow burn is exactly what it needed. I was able to put my mind at ease and relax, while it still kept me on the edge of my seat.
My Overall Thoughts
In the end, what I feared going into this film was completely abolished about five minutes in, so I truly had no complaints coming out of this picture. I worried about it wanting to preach the Catholic religion too much, not making it accessible for other religions to watch. That being said, although it does start out that way, it's also a big reality check that some people are just cruel in this world and there is no fixing that. There is much more to this film than just wanting to preach about religions. Martin Scorsese has crafted another near-masterpiece in my opinion and it's not just meant for a specific audience. Any adult should be able to view this film and appreciate the messages throughout. With an amazingly composed score, direction that is out of this world, performances that may just have you in tears, and a story that works for the entire duration of this near 3-hour epic, Silence is one of the best films to come out of 2016. As long as you have time on your hands, I highly recommend checking out Silence. I loved every frame. Scorsese has done it again!