Most people agree there are categories into which the films of Martin Scorsese can be placed, everyone knowns his films centered around crime and Italian- Americans. However Scorsese is a fairly devout catholic and has made films about faith such as The last temptation of christ, Silence is the latest film he has made that fits in this category.
Silence is a flex of cinemas muscles as an art form, wonderful to look at with fantastic locations in Taiwan dressed up to look like feudal Japan. Everything is era authentic and the cinematography is top notch maximising the potential of the location and the detailed sets. I appreciated the films own alcknowledgement of the fact that the Padres speak Portuguese in the film because they are Portuguese but what the actors are speaking for the benefit of a western audience is English. This strange way of presentation extends to the casting, Spiderman ( Andrew Garfield) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are cast as Portuguese missionaries and both employ a questionable Iberian lilt in their accent. Both these actors are excellent and have some star power to pull audiences, however both are typecast actors now and its hard for me to disassociate them from their previous roles. Despite the accent both did a great job in displaying the range of emotions that their characters experience.
Here is a disclaimer: I am biased towards Asia and especially Japan as a setting, I think the place is interesting to look at and its actors seem to have a lot of class and relish in their make believe performance. The Japanese actors in silence were exceptional, the man playing the inquisitor is a stand out actor. Of course Liam Neeson is also in this and you know what his particular set of skills are.
So in conclusion fantastic film from a passionate team and director with great actors, the whole deal. So why is this film getting unfavourable reviews from more reputable people than me? People who have a large audience and get paid money and stuff seem to have a suspicious habit of putting an underlying tone into their written piece. That tone is : I don’t like religion because reasons and because I am apposed to it I am going to give this film about catholic missionaries a mediocre score.
This is baby behavior, there is no reason for professionals not to make sure their own bias does not cloud their judgement. If a clearly excellent piece of cinema or whatever else comes out but happens to have subject matter you do not agree with, the viewer should attempt to engage more with the film to try and find something to enjoy. I’m not religious at all and I enjoyed this film, for me it was almost psychological horror from scenarios that would be easy to resolve for me but not for the character who I am trying to understand and identify with.
If a film is worthy of the effort of trying to understand it, and you meet it halfway, then that can make for a very enjoyable viewing experience. I say try it.