A great achievement from a master.
I didn’t add Martin Scorsese’s Silence to my end of year list because I watched it very late in the game. Upon reading the latest list of Oscar nominees and seeing that it was snubbed from every major category ( aside from the Cinematography), I decided to write this. The film is a test. A test for the audience. It runs at a punishing length, told without the directors signature splashy style and it does not offer one final conclusion to all it’s answers. It is messy, slow and demanding of it’s viewer. One has to pay attention.
Silence is a masterpiece. A masterpiece of story, craft and directing. This is the story of two jesuit priests, Father Rodrigues ( Andrew Garfield) and Father Garupe (Adam Driver) who travel to Japan to rescue their mentor, Father Ferreria (Liam Neeson), a missionary who has renounced his faith under torture during Japans anti-Christian purge.
Truth be told I heard from many that this is lesser Scorsese. Lesser Scorsese? What does that mean? Art is not perfect. Scorsese has had this movie in his head since 1990 and it is impossible to imagine the movie he would have made then to the movie that has just been released. Ideas change, budgets change, casting ideas change, all over time. But passion remains the same. Passion is hard, passion is messy. The look, the dialogue, the directors choices of set, angle and costume and how that leads to putting a singular vision to screen is all he cares about. Does he fall into self indulgence? Of course. Certain scenes could have been trimmed , most likely saved because of the directors love for them. So what? Michael Bay movies thrive on over indulgence so lets cut cinema’s grand champion a bit of slack.
The editing is flawless, cinematography exquisite, costumes and sets, impeccable. Don’t get me started on the acting. But this year, no love, no accolades. But awards come and go but cinema is forever. Scorsese has made one of his best films and here’s hoping that his next one is as good, sorry, great, as Silence.