Silence – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Silence – 4.5/5 –  A building over time; a phrase that has a lot of meaning.  Within these words is the subtleness that explains how a piece of art can sprout meaning through a slow but meaningful approach.  Movies are no exception.  Within a story explored visually; you get a sense of awe and wonder.  No matter the genre, there is an intent to capture instant gratification.  When a film takes those senses and builds it methodically, it brings about another expressive detail.  Silence, a film from director Martin Scorsese, is a story that exudes that slow burn approach.  Through some character building, thematic endearment and poignant cinematography, Silence will have you seeing more than just another visual escape.  This is film that shows you the truth of what it means to build over time.

Premise: Two Jesuit Priest travel to Feudal Japan to save their mentor.

At the heart of the film are two characters:

Andrew Garfield as Rodrigues

Adam Driver as Garupe

These two actors do an amazing job in capturing the enthralling journey that happen when faced with unforeseen circumstances.  There two opposing personalities (especially when it comes to their faith) helps build up an enrapturing relationship that goes beyond the typical complexion of religious tropes.  Through the context of personal intent; you see an ominous sense of looseness and fortitude.  In search of their teacher; they are explicitly faced with the concept of faith being more than just simple acceptance.  Once they venture into the unknown, they slowly evolve through unwilling and scary encounters with a challenge of truth, determination and fate.  At the heart is the characterization of how faith and humanistic qualities become more than what is seen to the naked eye.  The deeply invoking truth of the ‘fish out of water’ mantra is made clear through the ‘flawed’ character trope that is expertly acted through both Garfield and Driver.  No matter if they are together and (eventually) separated; they have to adjust/learn or fall to the fury of Feudal Japan.  With the rest of the cast, there are a plethora of unknown actors/actress with some noticeable big names (which includes Liam Neeson as the former teacher).  You can refer to the list on the film’s IMDb page.  Within the secondary cast; you get a true sense of a lively (sometimes hostile) realistic world.  With this film taking place within Feudal Japan; you are drawn into the world through the subtle approach of each individual actor/actress.  No one pushes through with a cliché melodramatic approach; it is caressed with care, precision and honesty.  No matter if you’re shocked, moved or even emotionally drained; you feel the power and persistence of trying to live through these hard/vicious times.

The direction (as mentioned in the prologue) produces this story through a slow burn method.  Within this, the film approaches the introduction as a quick ‘one shot’.  You are given the situation, characters and the plot device to produce a forward motion of the story.  The film doesn’t take too long in adding layers of unwanted material; it gives you what is needed to understand the reason behind the two Jesuits journey into Japan.  Once the film gets them to the main ‘area’ of the story; the film settles upon that slow burn method.  This allows for focus on two things:

  1. The Main Character(s)
  2. The Theme(s)

As the general story focuses on the Jesuits and their journey to find their teacher, the methodical approach helps bring to light the hardship (and sometimes collision like effect) that two religions can have on one another.  As you watch the underlining story unfold; it is the thematic tale of colliding faiths that brings in a deeper journey.  You see this unfold as the characters face different trials and tribulations along the way.  Each of them have a physical, emotional and mental conflict on how to accept or deny the teachings of the main culture of Japan.  As such, the director creates this conflict by fragmenting the tone through a subtle and shocked approach with the slow burn direction.  This allows for the ‘raw’ and vicious tactics of the world to unfold organically.  This will produce either an emotional or shocking response.  This helps exude the realism of the situation; producing a thoughtful understanding of the unique similarities and differences of the Jesuits’ Christian roots with the Japanese Buddhism culture.  The layering of characters and themes helps you understand the truth within the journey of each cultures.  It is one that brings to light the obvious blindness and arrogance in the character’s decisions, but also the volatility each person will have towards religious devotion.  As you move deeper into the film after a ‘pivotal’ scene, the psychological aspect bleeds past the ‘period piece’ stylings showing a much more personal tale for the characters to the audience.  As the struggles between acceptance and faith collide, the main characters must decide what is the purpose of sacrifice, free will and worth.  When choice and fate become one; it is a matter of strength in the agonizing truth of reality.  As the film moves into a high position within it’s the third act and climax, it gives a reflection on the methods used to bring focus for the characters.  You were (at first) just standing staring at a simple journey; but come to realize there is a deeper meaning to the journey than the simple explanation.   At this point, you become aware of why the main characters do what they do.  This shows an even bigger revelation in how important the film’s honest roots have its purpose in the ‘completeness’ aspect in the epilogue.

The cinematography is mesmerizing in the most focal of intent.  With majority of the film taking place in Japan; you’re enraptured by the inspiring landscapes, interiors and unique building structure of the time.  This detail of honest recreation helps create a sense of true escapism.  It also allows for the believability to evenly flow between story and visuals; making you become part of the journey as much as the characters.  The score is used very minimal (on purpose).  This is the odd tactic of ‘not using’ something paying off.  With a film so deeply focused on characters and themes; allowing it to feel real in a scenic vibe is actually better off without a lot of music.

Silence is a story that takes the full running time to truly appreciate the journey of the characters.  With a slow/methodical approach; Scorsese creates another amazing tale within a unique purpose of its characters.  If you’re a fan of different/unique storytelling or love the director; this is one for you.  This is worth the full price of admission.

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