Martin Scorsese has supposedly been developing Silence for somewhere around 25 years. That’s crazy. Here’s hoping he pulled something together that’s worth all that time and effort.
Silence left me in a weird spot. I think that Martin Scorsese’s latest is a beautifully shot film with a lot of great performances and an interesting story (two Christian missionaries decide to infiltrate Japan in order to find their missing mentor), but it has a variety of elements that are either odd or just too much. It’s long (and often feels like it), brutal, and full of so much religious persecution and suffering that you’ll likely reach an “alright, I get it, times were tough” moment somewhere in the first act. Speaking of acts, I’m not a huge fan of the way the film concludes. It builds and builds and then Scorsese jarringly jumps into an epilogue (one without a title card indicating as much, so you end up lost for a bit), provides a flurry of updates, and then it’s over. Sometime ago I read that his original cut was well over three hours, so if I had to guess, I would go with the awkwardly narrated and presented “ending” as what got hacked apart. Lastly, Scorsese delivers a muddled message. My date thought one thing, I thought another and every friend I spoke with afterwards thought something entirely different … and none of us were particularly confident with our theories. For a film that’s been in the work for roughly 25 years, you’d think it would feature a message that’s loud and clear.
Take The Revenant and The Passion Of The Christ, mix them up and what you’ll get on the other end is Silence. If that sounds appealing to you, then mount up and head to the theater. Otherwise, you should probably steer clear of Scorsese’s rather intense and thick passion project.
One Last Thought:
Anytime I watch a movie as serious and dramatic as Silence, I always wonder if there’s a blooper reel somewhere. It would be so wonderful to watch Andrew Garfield look into someone’s eyes and then start laughing uncontrollably instead of talking about Jesus and stuff.