Two Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfeild, Adam Driver) currently involved in the mission to integrate Christianity into Japanese society despite it being outlawed, are tasked with finding a lost priest (Liam Neeson) whom is said to now be living not as a Christian, but as a Japanese.
Silence is one of the main awards front-runners this year, and in some ways it’s easy to see why. It is a breathtakingly gorgeous piece of work to look at. Wonderful locations are used to their absolute fullest. Some of the sweeping vistas are absolutely wonderful. And the performances are the kind of performance that awards shows tend to like. All about suffering and human trials. However it’s also got a typical awardsy pomposity to its construction. The movie is apparently purposefully difficult to watch. It’s extremely long and slow paced, contains no music meaning you can’t just sit back and enjoy it – you have to focus on the details like extreme acts of torture. Now I like a slow build movie as much as the next man, but Silence is unfortunately extremely boring to watch. There is much I admire about the construction of the film and some of the performances, but it will not be a movie that I watch again.
The majority of the performances are spot on and explore the central themes of the piece in real depth and believability, stand outs for me were Tadanobu Asano, Issei Ogata and Adam Driver. However I found myself struggling to connect with Andrew Garfield’s character. And the more the narrative shifts onto soley him the less interested I became in the film. He is also hindered by using a strange Portuguese infliction on his accent that I didn’t really understand. Both him and Driver do this I suppose to convey that when speaking in English in the film, this is actually Portuguese, however when Liam Neeson enters the film he is doing no such accent. Neeson is playing a Portuguese character but speaks using his normal Liam Neeson voice. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it – I trust Scorsese – but for me it didn’t really work.
At the end of the day, I really should have liked Silence more than I did. I’m interested in discussions on religion and its place in society, I like Scorsese, I like the actors involved but it just spends so much time on everything and makes sure you know how serious it is continually that it’s just draining – in the wrong ways. I wasn’t emotionally drained, I just wanted to go to sleep unfortunately. But don’t get me wrong there is much to like about the film and it would be good to analyse, just in small chunks at a time.