Classic Elsternwick - Sunday 12 February 2017, 2:00pm
Running time: 161m
Country: United States
Classification: MA15+ (Strong coarse language)
Release date: 16/03/17
Rating: 7/10 (ME 4.5/5, DP 2.5/5)
Jesuit priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) travel to 17th century Japan to find out what happened to their mentor Ferreira (Liam Neeson). The inquisitor (Issey Ogata) is trying to wipe out Christianity from Japan, and though the arrival of the priests is welcomed by the Christian villagers, it spells the beginning of the end for all involved.
From mater storyteller Martin Scorsese comes a tale of faith, persistence and redemption in Silence. It's dark and somber film and the disturbing imagery and graphic violence make this a challenging film to watch. The plot is constructed around the journal of Rodrigues, and the sense of dread slowly builds as his faith and optimism is continually tested. Yōsuke Kubozuka's recurring appearances as Kichijiro to reinforce the parallels between Silence and the 'Passion', and his backstory delivers some of the most distressing moments of the film. The already skinny Adam Driver looks especially emaciated and Andrew Garfield's accent is all over the place at times, but their performances are raw, intense, vulnerable, very human and very good. It's interesting that Andrew Garfield has been nominated for a best actor Oscar for Hacksaw Ridge but not Silence, and although both performances are very good it's this one that has more depth and range.
Silence is (as the name suggests) a quiet film. With very little music, no more dialogue than it needs and natural sounds to create a full sensory experience, it's an intimate portrayal with an unconventional plot structure. Yes, it's a very long film and there a times when very little happens, but it's these slower moments that provide a dynamic light and shade in high contrast that is unsettling. It has one Oscar nomination for cinematography and the scenery is breathtaking, but it's the deliberate and expert composition of each frame that reminds the viewer that every second is telling a story, even when it appears the story has stalled. This film won't be to everyone's taste, and as impressive as it is I'm in no hurry to see it again anytime soon, but it is a fascinating, layered and expertly crafted film. (ME)
89th Academy Awards