Silence (2016)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay By: Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese

Cinematography By: Rodrigo Prieto

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver & Tadanobu Asano

Runtime 161 minutes

Silence is Scorsese’s newest movie. It’s really tough to watch. People like Scorsese for a lot of reasons and I think that many fans will find this to be an extremely difficult movie to get through, I did. It is not a nice movie for audiences. It doesn’t let you sit back and watch mobsters hustle or gangsters rise to prominence. It doesn’t have Joe Pesci giving spitfire comedic dialogue. It doesn’t have De Niro or Leo. Silence is a brutal film, both for its audience and it’s characters. Silence is also a spectacularly beautiful film.

Scorsese has mastered the image. He has, plain and simple. Scorsese’s movies are always in some way about movies themselves. What movies can be, what they should be, how they can operate on multiple levels. Silence is no different, but it is not about movies in the way we usually understand them through Scorsese. Silence is not about long dollys, steadicams, or quick cuts. Silence is about stillness. Silence is about the image. But more importantly Silence is about the meaning images can convey.

Silence is brutal because of it’s subject matter. It is hard to watch arrogant people believe they are right and that is exactly what the Jesuit Priests were, in my opinion. It is harder to tell what Scorsese believes but they may ultimately be the point. Scorsese does not spoon feed us what to think or feel, he wants us to experience these things on our own. He wants the movie to do what a movie should do, make its audience think. For me this was a tough movie to get through, not because of it’s pacing but rather because I cannot stand these missionaries. I cannot stand what they preached, what they believed, and how they went about doing it. But that doesn’t mean it’s a movie I shouldn’t see or that it was a movie I regret seeing.

I believe that there is also a strong parallel of the Jesuit Priests in Japan to Scorsese as a filmmaker. The Priests in Japan died for their cause yet accomplished nothing. Scorsese is at a point in his career that he too must be looking back and wondering what he has accomplished. Even with so much praise and success what impact has he had on new filmmakers? Are new filmmakers understanding what he loves so much about movies? Do they understand why movies are impactful and how this can be done? Or even though he has worked so hard and brought us to many terrific films, is it essentially all meaningless?

Silence will test you as it tests its characters, but I assure you this is worth seeing on the big screen.

God Bless America

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