Yo, this be Reuben. Wayyy! Happy 2017, I guess. We hope you didn’t throw up with embarrassment if you happened to stumble across our Best Thangs of the Year posts last week, and, yeah, I’m reviewing Silence.
I appreciate I don’t like what the usual 15-year-old does in film, but oh well, just don’t call me a hipster — because this film was good.
Martin Scorsese’s Silence tells the story of two Portuguese Catholic Priests, Rodrigues and Garupe, who journey to a dangerous and Christian-chopping/hanging/burning/drowning 17th Century Japan, to find their teacher, Ferriera, and see what the hell is going on.
The best thing about Silence is Andrew Garfield’s incredible performance as Rodrigues, which is supported by a strong backbone of performances across the board, including Adam Driver (Kylo Ren, mate) as Garupe and Yôsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro. Garfield is immense as Rogrigues, the focal figure of the film, with a sincere and passionate portrayal, taking realism into consideration.
Alongside this aspect is a bunch of other awesomeness, including the tone, which is one of the most impressive I’ve seen in a while. Viewers can be totally immersed in the setting, with a mood of tranquility, coupled with the brutality of the Japanese Inquisitor; as beautiful scenes become scenes of bloodshed and suffering in an expert motion of well-worked pacing and eye-catching cinematography. The film perfectly reflects on the source material, along with the nature of religion and humans in an exploratory manner to make for something truly thought-provoking and immersive, using Japan’s peaceful, yet harsh landscape to emphasise the potential joy of religion and the visual beauty of the world, albeit with a foreboding sense of darkness. Arrival might have been mind-bending, but it didn’t poke me into writing anything like that. Silence is a smart film, and one that really makes you think.
That potent mix of happiness and horror is made more interesting yet with its largely silent score and slow pace — which makes for a meaty run-time of nearly three hours. I get what Scorsese intended with the silence of it all, hence the name, really — it’s commenting on the secretive lives of the Christians in Japan. But, I think a little more soundtrack could have worked wonders for Silence, because although the tone is spot on, the atmosphere didn’t quite fill its potential, and I think some more sinister choonage could’ve helped with that department. Even so, there is an abundance of dark activities, which come with the persecution of the Christians, including some almost unwatchable scenes, and there is a great atmosphere created — I just think it could have been amplified that bit more.
As I touched upon when I was talking about Garfield’s absolute quality performance, there is a great sense of realism in Silence. There is nothing far-fetched in it, no noticeable goofs or anything chrome like in The Avengers or whatnot. The story in this was real and it feels real, with nice touches in sound editing and make-up all round the board.
In conclusion, Silence is a bit flippin’ good. Its tone and plot are perfect, and there is a great sense of realism and atmosphere – although more of a score could’ve helped that last aspect. It’s really long, and it feels long, but I’d say it’s well worth it if you’re patient with it. It isn’t for everyone and I don’t know if I’d want to watch it again, but, for me, it’s the most thought provoking film I’ve seen in a long time, and Andrew Garfield’s performance could be an award winner.
Bringing redundant opinions for scrollers everywhere,