ArtBookGuy
  Art For All People®    Real Talk About Contemporary Art    May 2017
SILENCE: A REVIEW

After deciding that I’d go to a Saturday matinee of this Martin Scorsese film, I began to laugh.

I knew that I wouldn’t have to arrive at the movie theater super early to get dibs on my favorite seat because, seriously, is anyone other than me rushing to the theater to see a film about Christian persecution in 17th Century Japan?

“I’ll probably have the theater all to myself,” I thought.

As things turned out, I was wrong, but not far off. There were eleven people – including me - in the theater during my viewing of this film. There’s good news and bad news in that.

The bad news is that based on my very narrow theater experience, millions of people aren’t going to see yet another Scorsese masterwork. Pity.

The good news is that Scorsese was able to get this film made during a time when it appears that our culture is obsessed with many of the things that run afoul of God, Jesus Christ, faith and everything else that this film is about.    

It was such a pleasure to sit there in near silence and let this profound piece of film making just wash over me. This is what Martin Scorsese does best. He gives you brilliant storytelling, spectacular cinematography, soul-scouring drama and delicious food for thought that I’m certain will remain with me for months to come.

Without question, “Silence” should be winner of the Best Picture Oscar for 2017 and Scorsese should be Best Director. Few storytellers in the film making arena have his mastery and authority. God bless them, but they just don’t.

Actors Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson are all fantastic as Jesuit priests fighting bloody battles beneath brutal Japanese religious rule. Garfield is certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination here and I continue to be astounded by Driver’s total commitment to his roles. Neeson gives us his usual steely reserve that only vaguely hides the moral turmoil brewing beneath.

I’m left with so much emotional and mental residue from this film. Scorsese weaves so many themes in this epic screenplay adapted from Shūsaku Endō’s novel of the same name published in 1966. You leave asking yourself … just what would you do or not do … for your faith? Do you have faith? Would you die for your faith? Would you deny Christ? Should you trust God? Where is God? Is He here with me amid the silence? Does His silence mean He’s not there?

Silence” is a deep, beautifully-woven film that Scorsese finally completed after many years of staying the course. One might argue that that mere fact that he got this film made was an act of faith and utter devotion in itself.

By the way, I must give some hearty shout-outs to Tadanobu Asano, Yôsuke Kubozuka and other Japanese actors who are simply sublime in this film. I want to see more of these fantastic actors in roles in which they’re playing contemporary human beings not primarily defined by their race or culture, but rather their contemporary humanity. But that’s a story for another day. No?

In short, “Silence” is a glorious film that really is the jewel in Martin Scorsese’s film making crown.

  



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