Silence is a historical drama directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Issey Ogata and Yōsuke Kubozuka. The story follows two 17th-century Jesuit priests, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. They travel from Portugal to Japan to find their missing mentor, played by Liam Neeson, while trying to spread Catholocism at a time where Christians are being persecuted, tortured and killed in Japan.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Silence
This is a film which has been in development for a long, long time. Indeed, this has been a passion project for Scorsese for decades which has been through a troubled production process with Scorsese focusing on other films such as Hugo, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street before finally pushing ahead with making Silence. My anticipation for Silence was largely influenced by Scorsese directing the film.
Certainly, Scorsese is a brilliant director who has made some absolute classic films such as Goodfellas, Casino, Hugo and The Wolf of Wall Street and when you consider the talent of the cast in this film, it all looked like Silence was shaping up to be a great film. Nevertheless, I still had doubts about how much I would enjoy this film considering that as much as I admire Scorsese, I have not liked some of his films.
For instance, I could not get through Mean Streets, The Aviator was very dull and slow and, in my opinion, I think Raging Bull is overrated (It’s good, just not the masterpiece everyone thinks it is). Still, I hoped that Silence would fall into the category of what I consider to be the best films of Scorsese.
My Thoughts on Silence
Sadly, this was not to be the case at all. I did not like Silence. True, the film has some good qualities but the overall package left me very disappointed. Before I talk about why Silence was such a disappointment, let’s talk about the few things I appreciated about the film. For one, Silence is a visually stunning film. The cinematography is absolutely fantastic and you can tell that every shot was intimately crafted.
There were also some good performances in this film, with the standout performance coming from Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson was also good in the small role he had. I also thought that the film tried to deal with some interesting themes such as idealism, devotion to religions and pragmatism. However, all of these aspects of Silence which I liked were not enough to make me overcome my disdain for how ridiculously boring and slow this film is.
Truly, I was begging for this film to end probably half-way through the running time. It was so tough for me to get through and the length of the film is not the main problem. Indeed, films like Braveheart, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy are long but have good pacing and great pay-off. Silence had none of these things. It trudges along at a snail’s pace and it really bothered me. Moreover, when I hoped that the final act would make these issues I had with the pacing go away, I was again disappointed by how the ending played out. It just made me think ‘What a waste of time!’.
All of this makes me disappointed rather than angry because there are things to admire about this film. However, despite the visuals, themes and performances, the pacing and the poor third act left me feeling extremely disappointed and unwilling to recommend Silence as a film you have to see.