The sound of Silence is astonishing. Insects, waves, weather, chanting, groaning and, yes, prolonged silence – these elements combine into a sensory experience at once rich and austere. The clash of languages and accents, speaking the common tongue of Christianity, adds to this sense of confusion and togetherness.
The look of Silence is astonishing. Numerous images will stick with you, enforced by enriching locations and dedicated set design. Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography finds the best possible shot in nearly every scene, creating a stunning tapestry throughout. Repeated motifs – water as a cleansing and crushing force, smoke and clouds to obscure the truth – showcase Scorsese as a director with masterful vision and creativity.
The feel of Silence is astonishing. A passion project with emphasis on The Passion, Silence shows a faith that is both beautiful and terrible being tested beyond limits. Garfield continues his recent renaissance with an intensely powerful, believable, heartbreaking central performance, which always manages to find the light amongst the considerable darkness. A wide congregation of supporting characters fill Silence with a breadth which brings deep humanity and spirituality to proceedings.
The length of Silence is astonishing… ly misguided. At two hours forty it’s overlong, which only serves to detract from the power of what came before. Though individual scenes are not stretched out, the overarching delivery is tortuously overextended. The unnecessary fourth act breaks Silence, removing an air of mysticism and hammering home a point which was already clear, almost as if Scorsese lost faith, cinematically and spiritually.
Silence is an undeniably astonishing piece of cinema, but that doesn’t make it a great film. As an appropriately testing treatise on tested faith, however, Silence is an historical, cultural and philosophical essential. In Scorsese we trust, but his lack of conviction muffles powerful moments with later indecisiveness.
CAST: Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds
DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese
WRITERS: Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese (screenplay), Shûsaku Endô (novel)
SYNOPSIS: The story of two Christian missionaries (Garfield and Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Neeson) – at a time when Christianity is outlawed and their presence forbidden.
A preview screening of Silence was kindly provided by StudioCanal.