Everything that needs to be said about Martin Scorsese has already been said, he is a fantastic filmmaker and everybody knows it. Silence, is a passion project, a historical and religious journey that has been in the works for nearly 20 years.
Set in the 1600s, Silence tells the tale of Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garrpe (Adam Driver) as they set off to Japan in order to bring back their missing and supposedly apostatised mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Catholicism in Japan has been criminalised due to the largely Buddhist culture and through trying to find Ferreira the two are able to bring hope to civilians that are broken and disparaged, due to the country’s decision to disregard their faith. Andrew Garfield works wonders within Silence, carrying the film even through its struggling stages. Driver and Neeson are also great, but they always feel side-tracked by Garfield’s performance and the sensational handful of Japanese actors (Issei Ogata, Yosuke Kubozuka and Shin’ya Tsukamoto, to name but a few).
When something works, it exceeds. Cinematography is poetic and performances are excellent. Unfortunately, Silence often feels sluggish and immovable. The first act adopts a natural and forward-thinking progression, while accomplishing a meaningful and respectful pace. It is when Silence enters its second act that everything slows down considerably, there is hardly any narrative movement and things come to a halt.
Silence is a powerful film, it asks an audience to understand the binding force that faith can be to a lot of cultures and the how removal of it can be breaking. When it does struggle, Garfield and the very strong supporting cast carries the film momentously. While it may not be Scorsese’s best, it is definitely a landmark of his strengths: to be able to form ambitious and meaningful stories.