Almanac Cinema – Movie Review: Silence
Scorsese is back! After four years away from the big screen, he returns with his first writing credit on a feature film since Casino (1995). I have the sort of respect for Scorsese that I will watch anything he puts his hands on (yes, even Vinyl), and as this was labelled his passion project, my mouth was watering.
Silence follows two catholic priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson), who has reportedly been converted to Buddhism.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, this isn’t the usual serving I’m used to from Scorsese. Put bluntly, this movie is a task to sit through. If I had watched it on DVD, I probably would have hit the pause button two maybe three times, but alas, cinemas don’t allow intermissions. I’m not saying that the movie is bad, it’s just a bit of an endurance and will test your attention span.
Andrew Garfield is cast as the lead, and for some reason he’s an actor I just can’t quite get on board with. After reading reviews about his performance, some labelling it “phenomenal” and “Oscar worthy”, I was eager for him to win me over. But after sitting through all 161 minutes of this movie, I’m still unmoved. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about? Maybe I’m missing something, but I just can’t conjure much sympathy for him.
Adam Driver however, is someone I have no difficulty sympathising with. I’ve been a fan of Driver for some time and believe him to be an emerging talent. Whilst he doesn’t exactly set the screen alight in this one, he still does enough to maintain my strong opinion of him.
Liam Neeson rounds out the small cast, and he’s solid enough, I do enjoy his acting when he’s not constantly losing family members to human trafficking.
Even with the beautiful cinematography—there really a some dazzling shots of the Japanese countryside (though it was filmed in Taiwan), I still walked out of the cinema ready to put this movie well and truly behind me. But as I made the trip home with my friend, we found the movie stayed with us and we debated long and hard on certain points of the film.
Silence is a film that will bring the whole gamut of reviews, from strong hate, to high admiration. Unfortunately, I’m sitting on the fence. I didn’t hate it and didn’t love it, but I can understand both perspectives. My love for Scorsese has not been shaken, this is just not among my favourites.
Take note of the title too, this movie is indeed silent. I had a packet of chips and the rustling was louder than most of the movie, much to the dismay of the ten other patrons in the theatre. So please, if you’re taking snacks, something with a low crunch would be good.
My advice would be to wait for this one on DVD. Then you can give that pause button a nice workout.