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

Biutiful (2010)

Directed By – Alejandro González Iñárritu

Screenplay By – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone & Armando Bo

Cinematography By – Rodrigo Prieto

Starring Javier Bardem

148 min.

THIS. MOVIE. IS. BORING. Call me unsophisticated, call me uncultured, call me emotionless. At the end of the day I watched 148 minutes of shear depression. Thankfully Javier Bardem was so damn good that I at least got to appreciate how fucking talented this guy is. Having really only seen him as sadistic villains in No Country for Old Men and Skyfall, watching how beautifully natural it was for him to be a loving father was inspiring. However, why Iñárritu? Why?

Bardem’s character has one extremely interesting gift and the movie only glimpses past it. Of course that’s the point but screw being nonchalant and coy about being a ghost whisperer. If you’re going to make you character a psychic who can communicate with spirits fucking make him a psychic who can communicate with spirits!

Biutiful is trying to say something profound about parenting and about being a responsible family man but I think it get’s lost in it own desire to be clever about it’s thematic statement and becomes a boring clutter of depression. Especially with whatever it is trying to say about the illegal immigration problem in Spain, Biutiful becomes a more interesting movie to discuss than to watch.

God Bless America

Amores Perros (2000)

Directed By – Alejandro González Iñárritu

Screenplay By – Guillermo Arriaga Jordán

Cinematography By – Rodrigo Prieto

Starring Gael García Bernal, Emilio Echevarría, Álvaro Guerrero & Goya Toledo

154 min.

Amores Perros is a very interesting movie on several levels. The basic idea is that there are three main stories with a connecting theme of “Love’s a bitch” but they also connect in proximity and with an entangling car accident. But when all is said and done I think the first story “Octavio y Susana” is really where the heart and soul of this movie is. It got my adrenaline running and got it running fast. However, because this story is the first hour of the movie I was left in the remaining hour and a half feeling unsatisfied.

While the acting, directing, cinematography is all good in the next two stories, and while a common thread is in all of them, the last two stories just didn’t do it for me. Compared to the excitement of vicious dog fighting and an intense love triangle consisting of two brothers, a crippled model who loses her dog and a hobo assassin who misses his daughter just wasn’t as exciting for me. And I don’t think they were ever going to be.

But it felt like this movie blew its load in the first hour and couldn’t get it back up. Think about it this way, this movie is set up very much like Pulp Fiction yet every word, every scene, every action of Pulp Fiction is entertaining. Pulp Fiction is pure entertainment. Amores Perros gives you a lot to chew on but it doesn’t have that consistent level that a masterpiece like Pulp Fiction has. Amores Perros is definitely a good movie and definitely engrossing, but after the first story the second two stories just seem lukewarm.

God Bless America