2017-04-21 07:41

What it’s about:

In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, in Japan, who has reportedly lost his faith.

What we thought:

It’s tough not to be in awe of both Martin Scorsese and this film as a whole. It is aesthetically beautiful and delivers performances from all the actors who grace the screen. But I always try and watch every film with a critical eye and consider the areas where it could have done better. 

In some cases, there is little to no room for improvement. I think that Silence might not be perfect but it as close as it can be if one considers its contentious subject matter and brutal visual themes. For example there were moments where I found some of the navel gazing that Andrew Garfield’s Rodrigues a little bit exhausting, but perhaps that was the point of his long monologues. To feel what he felt, exhaustion. Another aspect – tied into the navel gazing - that I felt could have been improved on in this movie was how it dragged in parts.  There was a lack of urgency sometimes which I haven’t found in a lot of Scorsese flicks. For instance I found Gangs of New York and The Departed (the latter much more than the former) for instance very well paced. 

This movie is based on a book by Shûsaku Endô  (which is also very dense), so it might be that sticking to the source material too religiously (pardon the pun) was a slight hindrance. Those were however small things that that can be overlooked when one considers the broader epic (and brutal) film. 

I think the best part of the movie were the performances by all the actors especially Andrew Garfield as Rodrigues; Adam Driver as Garupe and Yôsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro. These men gave a deep and flawed sense of humanity to their characters who were not always likeable. 

This film is undoubtedly as good as (if not better than) Roland Joffé’s 1986 film, The Mission, which is also about Jesuit priests on a mission. That film is set in South America, whereas Silence is set in Japan. That film, like this one, is not for the faint of heart and is sometimes hard to watch.  If you haven’t watched The Mission and enjoyed Silence then go and find it because it will probably also be up your street. 

I would say that if you are a Martin Scorsese or Andrew Garfield fan then this movie might just right for you. However if you cringe at (incredibly) brutal scenes and would rather not listen to Andrew Garfield get introspective for literally hours, then perhaps stay away. Go find lighter hearted flicks. 

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