Seriously is there something director, Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street) can’t do? We all know Scorsese is known for his gangster films like Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed, but once in a while he’ll step aside from that genre and pull off something completely different, the 2010 thriller, Shutter Island, the 2011 3D family adventure, Hugo, and now the historical epic, Silence, based on the novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo.
I practically came into this movie blind, I’ve only seen the trailer once in theaters, before Allied I believe, and several film enthusiasts and critics raved about this movie. So being a fan of Scorsese’s work in the past, I was intrigued to check it out.
Yep, everything you’ve heard about this movie, true, Silence is a really, REALLY good movie. Which is strange because I’m not a fan of films where Christianity is the focus, not because they’re bad or anything but the concepts of a lot of these movies range from generic to Ludacris (Ahem, Noah!).
But the way Scorsese tells the story of Silence, it feels new, despite Christianity being a very clichéd concept to depict in motion pictures. He makes the story feel like you’re hearing it for the first time.
The film follows two Christian missionaries named Sebastiao Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield-The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man, Hacksaw Ridge) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver-Lincoln, Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) who travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor, Father Cristovao Ferreira (Liam Neeson-Schindler’s List, Batman Begins, Taken) after he supposedly gave up his Christian religion. Upon arriving to Japan, the two missionaries face the ultimate test of faith at a time when Christianity is outlawed and the presence of any Christian artifacts is forbidden.
After experiences with torture, executions, and even watching Christians get their heads chopped off just for their religion, Sebastiao and Francisco will do whatever it takes to show the peaceful route and hopefully find their mentor.
Overall, Silence is a breathtaking experience and it shows that Martin Scorsese can step outside of his gangster comfort zone and pull off something spectacular. Despite being almost three hours long, the film kept my interest from start to finish.
Why? Because good characters, strong storytelling, and smart writing, whenever something bad happens to a character in this film you feel for that character. It helps to have an emotional connection when the acting feels authentic, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver are amazing in this movie and you want to see them succeed (side note, is it bad that I take Adam Driver a lot more seriously in this than I do in Star Wars?), and while Liam Neeson’s performances is strong, there’s not much focus on him and he’s more of a side character.
My only real nitpick of the movie is there are some scenes that go on for too long, they don’t wreck the movie or anything like that but as I was watching the film there were times where I was like “Yeah, you could have cut that”. Thankfully there’s not very many scenes that made me feel like that, and it’s soon made up with intense drama.
It’s a great Martin Scorsese film, not one of my all-time favorites but I’d be damned if I didn’t say Silence made me look at the world from a whole new perspective. This is by far the best religious film I’ve ever seen; Passion of the Christ can fall “Silent” now for all I care.