“Silence” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

4 January, 2017

Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenwriters: Martin Scorsese, Jay Cocks
Director of Photography: Rodrigo Prieto
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Shinya Tsukamoto

Synopsis: Set in Japan during the 17th century, Silence depicts an epic test of faith as two Catholic missionaries travel to a foreign land in a time where Christianity is outlawed across the country.

Silence Review:

Made to be the “Apocalypse Now” of religious epics, “Silence” is a stimulating analysis of faith and ideology and it’s brought to life in extreme detail by Martin Scorsese who has no qualms about playing the auteur card within this latest character study. The scrupulous running time is arguably the film’s biggest shortcoming as it lumbers and bores in the moments between its finest sequences, turning confessions, corpses, and crucifixes into rather mundane elements within a far greater and more expansive social context.

It’s only in later ponderance that “Silence” fully blooms into the ethereal art piece that it’s initially set up to be. It’s a slog to sit through but as a point of reference it’s a sumptuous red rose of thought and expression, a tale of spiritual devotion presented without divine intervention, set-up to be meticulously picked apart by those with and without faith. There are no gods in “Silence” as Scorsese focuses instead on man vs. man in an endless battle of wills which frequently ends in the suffering of everyday peasants; many whom sacrifice themselves for false idols who cling to the teachings of Catholicism.

Like analysing each brushstroke laid onto the complex canvases that fill the walls of The Louvre, “Silence” is a dictionary of ideas and its gesticulation and puffiness are mere signifiers of Scorsese’s endless dedication to detail. Although there are a few sight gags and set pieces that wear a bit thin over the course of its study, the excruciating manner in which we experience the characters’ lives ensures that they stay rigidly human whilst also somehow coming to represent cogs within a larger system of oppression.


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