Based on: “Silence” (1966) by Shusaku Endo
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Issei Ogata and Ciaran Hinds
Release Date: Jan. 13, 2017
Runtime: 2 hours, 41 minutes
Rating: Rated R for some disturbing violent content
Plot Summary: “In the 17th Century, Two Portuguese Jesuit priests embark on a dangerous and risky mission to the hostile land of Japan to locate their mentor who is rumored to have committed apostasy.”
It is mind-blowing that today in 2017, you can still go to a theater and see a new (and, more importantly, good) movie from the same director who made “Taxi Driver” (1976). I have never seen a movie from Martin Scorsese and been disappointed; to say that he is a master of cinema and knows what he is doing would be a massive understatement. “Silence” (2017) is no exception from my Scorsese Streak because it is an absolute masterpiece.
You already know when you read the cast list for “Silence” that you are about to see something incredible. Even if you casually watch movies, you will surely recognize the three title actors because they are well-known throughout pop culture. No matter how familiar you are with them though, there is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for what they do in “Silence”.
I really do not know how to put into words how good of a job Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield all did in this movie; they were breathtaking, interesting, realistic and, most importantly, understandable. When the story fully divulges what has happened to Neeson’s character, it, at first, seems very easy to hate him, but once you learn why he made the decision(s) he made, you become more sympathetic and end up saying to yourself, “I would’ve done the same thing.”
From the get-go, Garfield and Driver are depicted as two determined, resilient, forgiving, hopeful and compassionate people that paint accurate pictures of 17th Century Jesuit priests. These two men have devoted their minds, lives and souls to God and their church, but you can still sense the connection these two characters have with each other and their mentor.
When the characters are put under physical, emotional, and/or psychological stress in the story, they truly shine because they face it so realistically and believably that the audience ends up feeling like these things are happening to them too.
There are many moments in “Silence” that truly made my heart pound in my ears and blood race with suspense. Scorsese has proved, yet again, with “Silence” that he is no newcomer to suspense and is perfectly capable of creating a dangerous ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The last thing I have to mention that I absolutely loved was the symbolism and themes in the story. Many screenwriters avoid films about religion because it is a very touchy subject, but Jay Cocks and Scorsese bravely chose not to avoid religious symbolism or themes in “Silence” and it definitely paid off. If you are of Christian faith, this movie may be hard for you to watch since two major themes of this movie are persecution against Christians and God’s silence, but this is still a film I believe Christians and non-Christians should watch because it is like a suspenseful and entertaining history lesson on religion around the world in the 17th Century that should be told.
The only complaint I have with this movie is that (like all of Scorsese’s films) it is very long and, at times, slow. Many critics have cited this film’s length and progression as their main factor in condemning it, but I was okay with it because I am used to Scorsese’s filmmaking style. The only reason I would not recommend this film is if you do not like long movies; “Silence” is a little over two and a half hours long, but it does seem like it is four hours long due to how carefully the story moves.
I do not understand why this film’s only Oscar nomination was “Best Cinematography”. The members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who failed to provide “Silence” with the nominations it deserves are absolute fools because, again, this film is a masterpiece. In case you have not guessed it already, “Silence” is going to get an “A+++” from me. I watched this film alone and still gave it a round of applause when it was over; I challenge you to not do the same.