2017 starts off with a movie from the legendary Martin Scorsese, you can't really complain about that. 'Silence' seems to take Scorsese away from his usual type of film as it looks trials within religion rather than within crime. As it is different subject matters, would Scorsese's magic transfer into 'Silence'?
The film is actually fairly frustrating as you see the priests struggle in Japan and you actually feel this in the audience. This happens particularly in the later stages of the film as it does seem to drag but remains effective at the same time. You, like the Christians, are frustrated by the lack of advancement in the priests quest due to this which is actually a very clever piece of filmmaking. This, however, does make it unlikely that you may rewatch this film as it is enough to sit through one time as it is. Although the film experience cannot be denied, as the film comes closer to the climax, you do feel the run-time start to take its toll. What comes with the frustration may even seem boring and disengaging to audiences as it seems to lose its tension and grip on the viewer. The ending isn't nearly as effective as the rest of the film and due to this, you want the film to start to wrap up. The bad thing about that is that there is still about half an hour to go in the film. 'Silence' most definitely isn't the most entertaining film but it's worth so much more than that. It is to carry this message of how strong faith can be, no matter how hard times are. 'Silence' is an experience, you go to be a part of the film and feel what the characters are going through.
Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver were strange castings in the role as the Portuguese Priests. For one, neither of them are Portuguese or even look remotely Portuguese, Driver in particular. Not only do the two not look the part but there are some inconsistencies within their accents that are distracting. Garfield is most noticeable as early on his character seems to over pronounce but it weaves in and out of the film throughout the runtime. Other than this both actors, do excel in their roles, showing the grief and hardship that they are going through whilst carrying out their mission. There was a particularly interesting dynamic within Driver's character being frustrated - see how that comes up yet again - but it never really seems to go anywhere. Instead, the main focus is on the fresh-faced Garfield who seems to have put the days of Spider-Man behind him and has become a very solid actor. Liam Neeson also features in this film but not as much as you'd maybe hope. Yoshi Oida, Yosuke Kubozuka and Issey Ogata lead the rest of the cast that brings a feeling as if you are in Japan. The use of the Japanese language is very effective throughout this, as well as using actors with thick accents as it sets up that authentic feeling. Kubozuka's character Kichijiro was a great addition the film as his actions made him unpredictable, bringing some humour at times which didn't feel out of place.
What Scorses does immensely within 'Silence' is created arguably his best-looking film to date. Shot entirely in Taiwan, Scorsese works alongside cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto to create some breathtaking shots. A wide range of long and overhead shots showcase the beauty of the set-up Japanese coastlines, mountains and villages, despite some of the horrible things that are going on. Prieto may very well be on track for another Academy Award nomination - with his last being over 10 years ago - as his work was of the highest standard. Scorsese's use of screen space works very well as well as his work in tight confines. The pair manages to make everything from the delightful scenery to the vilest of acts look marvellous. There is a high quality that oozes throughout the whole film as Scorsese has undoubtedly made one of the most visually appealing films of recent times.
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