A Month Of Marty: Tripwire Reviews Silence

A Month Of Marty: Tripwire Reviews Silence

Keeping The Faith

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman was on in cinemas in the UK and US in November and is now on Netflix internationally. So Tripwire set its editor-in-chief Joel Meadows and senior editor Andrew Colman the mammoth task of watching and reviewing all of his films. Last up is 2016’s period religious drama Silence reviewed by Joel Meadows…

Silence
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson

A film that was two decades in the making, Silence sees Scorsese returning to territory that was covered in Kundun almost twenty years earlier. Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield are two Catholic monks who travel to Japan to locate their mentor, played by Liam Neeson, who has vanished. Set in 17th century Japan and based on a 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence reunites Scorsese with screenwriter Jay Cocks, who he worked with on The Age Of Innocence and The Gangs Of New York. One of the reasons it took such a long time to get made was partly down to his practice of taking on a number of projects at the same time, but it was also delayed because of a legal challenge that related to Kundun back in 1997, which stalled matters for years.

Despite a running time of two hours and forty minutes (Scorsese is rarely a believer in brevity as a director), and its incredibly weighty subject matter, Silence is a very effective drama. The cinematography by Mexican DOP Rodrigo Prieto, who worked with Scorsese on The Wolf Of Wall Street, manages to transform Taiwan, where the film was shot, into period Japan with style and rare invention.

The Catholicism at the heart of the tale continues to be an obsession with the director, who everyone knows almost became a priest, and like The Last Temptation of Christ nearly two decades earlier, Silence feels like another attempt by him to exorcise his demons and offer a redemptive tale of religion against all the odds, the detail and historical research involved as forensic and painstaking as one would expect from him.

Driver as Garupe and Garfield as Rodrigues have solid onscreen chemistry together, united by their faith, while Neeson as their mentor Ferreira is has magnetic screen presence once he finally makes his entrance. In a way, Ferreira acts as a religious version of Apocalypse Now’s Colonel Kurtz, a Catholic priest who has been forced to discard his religious ways as Japan has outlawed Catholicism and its officials roam the land to weed out those who practice it.

Silence is a beautiful but harrowing, unsettling film that is frequently gripping. Scenes like the one where a number of captured Japanese Catholics are crucified by the coast and or where Catholics are drowned as an incitement to force Garupe to renounce his faith are particularly well framed, albeit an extremely tough watch. David Lean’s influence is noticeably extant here, as this does feel like the closest Scorsese has ever come to making a bona fide widescreen epic.

Silence is a beautiful but harrowing, unsettling film that is frequently gripping. Scenes like the one where a number of captured Japanese Catholics are crucified by the coast and or where Catholics are drowned as an incitement to force Garupe to renounce his faith are particularly well framed, albeit an extremely tough watch. David Lean’s influence is noticeably extant here, as this does feel like the closest Scorsese has ever come to making a bona fide widescreen epic.

The niche subject matter meant that it would inevitably have limited box office appeal, yet it was much more positively received than the similarly themed Kundun. It is perhaps because of Scorsese’s close connection to Catholicism that Silence is imbued with its power and empathy. It is probably the hardest Scorsese film to watch but it does reward the viewer, thanks to its ambition and cinematic intensity. Scorsese’s career has been oddly schizophrenic regarding his Catholicism – on the one hand, there are the gangster or outsider movies about amoral characters disinterested in the church that have a faint religious undertow, and then there are the faith-based movies such as this one, that come across as a corrective for all the decadence and wilful evil endemic to those other films.  However it does prove that over five decades after Scorsese began his journey as a filmmaker, that he still has the passion to create thought provoking and intelligent work about a subject that he is still compelled to focus on.

Here’s the film’s trailer

Here’s the other Month Of Marty reviews so far as well



http://www.tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/a-month-of-marty-tripwire-reviews-the-color-of-money/

http://www.tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/a-month-of-marty-tripwire-reviews-the-wolf-of-wall-street/

And here’s our review of The Irishman from last year too

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Siilence by Martin Scorsese
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray

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