By Ian Crow
Silence is Martin Scorsese’s long-time project that has finally come to light. Developing the film for over 25 years, his dream film has now been released and was it worth the wait? No. A very abrupt and short answer for an incredibly long and anti-climactic film. Set in the seventeenth century, two young priests Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) & Garrpe (Adam Driver) both set out on a mission to Japan to find their mentor Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Father Ferreira set out to Japan to preach Christianity and while out there he ends up committing apostasy after being tortured. The two young priests take a huge risk entering Japan around that time as any Christians or priests that were found were tortured or even killed if they do not give up their religion.
The trailer for the film really got me interested in the concept of this movie. Even though I am not religious or have an interest in religious movies, Silence reached out and grabbed my attention. Knowing that Martin Scorsese was also doing the project made me more intrigued, too. Additionally, the story itself looked incredibly interesting and one that could be incredibly tense. After all this time, I thought I wouldn’t be fooled by trailer anymore. Silence is another culprit to release a trailer that’s more interesting than the film itself. A heavy running time of 161 minutes made for at times a really testing watch. I have numerous issues with this movie and I’m going to start off with one of the main parts, the acting.
To carry such a heavy script, you really need the top of the line actors to really take this story to the heights it potentially deserves. I do not doubt Andrew Garfield’s or Adam Driver’s ability to act because I find them to be both fine actors, but this unfortunately is way out of their league. Personally, it’s incredibly hard to think of an actor that could play these roles. They both do their job well though, but they take it as far as they can possibly go. Both Garfield and Driver hit a certain level of acting ability and then they struggle to really up the ante. Most disappointing for me though is Liam Neeson. His character had such high importance to the story and ultimately Neeson ends up with an uninteresting/potentially pointless character. His acting ability is second to none, and to waste such a talent is a crime.
Silence almost feels like three separate acts, each one depicting different and important times along these characters story. The opening act was my favourite for me. The film didn’t take too long to get straight into the mix of things and get the story rolling. It got us from A to B in rapid fashion and the tension builds perfectly to what I thought would be a climatic middle and end. Act two and three nose-dived and took a turn for the worse. I lost interest quickly as I finally discovered that there were to be no big reveal or shocks to the story. It flat lines even more in the last few moments as it stutters and struggles across the finish line.
All is not lost though; the star of the show is Mr. Martin Scorsese. His direction is innovative at times and really captures the mood of the story. If it wasn’t for that man behind the camera then this could have been a potential disaster. He keeps the audience close to what’s going on and does his up most to keep you engaged to the very end. His attention to detail is second to none, even at the golden age of 74. The one thing I got from this movie is that Martin Scorsese still has enough fuel in his stomach to keep making movies. Ultimately though, it isn’t enough for me to say that it’s a great film. It’s an above average film that truly does deserve a lot more talent in front of the screen to carry a heavy but intelligent script. 3 out of 5 stars.