One of Martin Scorsese’s very best films? Not quite, speaking as a fan of ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Taxi Driver’. One of Scorsese’s best films in recent years? From personal opinion, yes it is but due to its challenging nature ‘Silence’ is not going to appeal to all taste-buds.
At over two and a half, nearly three, hours, ‘Silence’ is a little overlong and the slow pace may be a challenge for some. Long lengths are not a problem usually in films, especially when a film is continually riveting enough to justify it, neither is slow pacing when more often than not there is a reason for being so.
It was clear that the pacing was deliberate and it wasn’t an issue at all, because of how well made ‘Silence’ is and what it does with its themes. Personally do think however that a few of the early parts of the film could have been trimmed down or tightened up, because there are a few draggy aimless stretches that are also rather on the repetitive side, the points ‘Silence’ makes are made very clearly but in these few spots it was like it didn’t quite know how or when to stop.
On the other hand, ‘Silence’ is visually stunning. There are no words to describe how magnificent the cinematography is and am so happy that it’s warranted an Oscar nomination, and the bleak and unforgiving landscapes are very evocative of the subject matter and cruel mood. Scorsese’s direction is exemplary, hard-hitting but also at times remarkably subdued. The music similarly is a nice fit and doesn’t feel heavy-handed.
The script was clearly written with a lot of thought and intent and evokes very strong emotions, if a little repetitious in places. The story is simply riveting, rendering images that are hard-hitting with full impact and with complex themes that are expansively explored with raw power but also in a restrained way. The ending is devastating and Liam Neeson’s scenes, integral to the film, sees the story at its most focused.
All the acting is exceptional, helped by strong writing and sharply drawn characters. Andrew Garfield is subdued but still splendid, while Adam Driver is powerfully moody. Liam Neeson is on fearless form and gives perhaps his best performance since ‘Kinsey’. Issei Ogata is superbly shady, and Yōsuke Kubozuka honestly couldn’t have brought any more delicious juice to Kichijiro even if attempted.
In summary, riveting film, one to experience and live with without ever forgetting, with a slightly shorter length and a little trimming it would have been a masterwork. 9/10 Bethany Cox.
Source: TheLittleSongbird – imdb