review by Bobby Blakey
There are few directors out there as well renowned as Martin Scorsese. Throughout his career he has delivered some truly great films, but none have had the journey like his upcoming film Silence. He has spent 28 years trying to bring Shusaku Endo’s 1966 acclaimed novel to life and finally it is coming to life. Could Silence be yet another masterpiece from this iconic filmmaker or will it not be something you can put your faith in?
Silence follows the story of two Christian missionaries who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor – at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The film features a great cast including Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds who all give great performances, but this is Andrew Garfield’s show all the way. The story is really powerful whether you are someone with faith or not. Just seeing the ordeals that unfold in the name of both faith and trying to break it will touch a nerve with everyone. There are aspects to both sides of some of their beliefs that you cannot help to understand no matter what your faith is if you are willing to listen. While this films focus was firmly planted on the side of Christianity, I was impressed to how it never felt like it was trying to convert the viewer, but instead just telling a historical account of the struggles of this time and allowing you to make your own decisions.
Visually the movie is stunning with the landscapes themselves becoming a character all its own. There are moments of such beauty infused with horrific things going on that it gives you this sense of confusion on what you are supposed to feel which just showcases the brilliance of the cinematography. Both Garfield and Driver fully committed the their roles losing an insane amount of weight which just made you believe all the more in their characters struggles and journey. I really enjoyed their dynamic together as you felt like these were two people that cared for each other and willing to die together but still butted heads on their struggles of their circumstance and eventual repercussions. This wasn’t nearly as brutally violent as I expected given the story, but there are some truly horrific moments of torture and violence that isn’t overly graphic blood wise, but is powerful nonetheless.
In the end this is a powerful film that might be hard for some to get through due to the direction at times, but I think it’s one that should be seen. I can see how some might find this film a bit slow as it does take its sweet time to tell the tale, but this is important to get the full impact across. I think this is a film that will open up conversations between people about their faith and that is always a good thing as long as both parties are willing to listen and not just force their will on one another.