Silence Movie Review

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by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

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Writer: Jay Cocks and Martin Scoresese, with Shusaku Endo (Novel)

Director: Martin Scoresese

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Ciaran Hinds

Rated: R

Running Time: 2 hrs 41 mins

Genre: Drama/History

Country/Language: USA, Taiwan, Mexico / English, Japanese, Latin

Year: 2016

How It Can Be Seen: In Theaters Now

 

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I personally have been a fan of auteur filmmaker and cinephile, Martin Scoresese when I first saw his gritty street crime drama Taxi Driver at the tender age of 11. It deeply changed the way I saw cinema and felt about cinema. And with every film he has come out with since then has continuously amazed me and gave me a deeper appreciation for the art of cinema. Plus there just is no denying the love this man has for filmmaking and his extensive knowledge of it. He has worked with countless talent in the industry, both those who work in front and behind the camera. Anyone who's anyone will tell you that when they get a call and asked if they want to be in a Martin Scoresese film, you don't hesitate and you don't say no. You jump at the chance! And thus far, up to this point, the man has never disappointed me. He is a world filmmaker, which means he's not afraid of stretch his legs and making films that take place all over the world. Not just to stay within the confines of New York. Although that is where about half of his films take place. It is the place he knows best and where his heart lies. However, this film, Silence, is different and special. A marvel. The cinematographer for The Wolf of Wall Street rejoins Scoresese to shoot this gorgeous looking film. While one of the screenwriters of Gangs of New York also re-teams with Scoresese to co-write Silence with him. And whether you believe it or not, this particular film has been a pilgrimage for Mr. Scoresese that has spanned over 25 years, close to 30! With countless starts and stops and fall throughs and re-visitings, this has been a true labor of love for Scoresese that began in 1988 when after his much controversial release of The Last Temptation of Christ, he was handed a copy of the book Silence by Shusaku Endo. The story tells of 2 Catholic Priests & Missionaries (Andrew Garfield & Adam Driver) who travel to Japan to find their mentor who is said to have been held captive after he denounced the faith in public. On their journey and during their time in Japan the two priests are met with great challenges that test their own faith. "Am I just praying to silence?" can be heard whispered with great intensity by Father Rodrigues (Garfield). Myself having been raised Catholic but then lapsed in practicing that religion, I understood deeply the plight of what those character were going through internally as they questioned their own faith. It is during the time when they witnessed the torture of villagers who practiced a religion that had been outlawed in that country, which is was particular difficult to watch, that they found their faith being tested. What I found especially refreshing was that the film didn't hit you over the head with preaching. It told a story that many people could relate to without forcing beliefs down anyone's throat. And this is what the great Martin Scoresese does in MANY of his films; because he himself strongly grew up Catholic, it had a profound impact on his life and therefore would bleed into the films he made. And once again, he accomplishes this with great precision and respect for the beliefs of others while still telling a deeply impactful story with such rich performances by all, especially all of the Japanese cast - They were all so impeccably on point. Also being an Oscar contender this year, this film most definitely deserves its nomination! I highly recommend this picture to everyone! It will move you to your core!

 

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