"Scorsese brings to the screen another masterpiece that has the power to deeply move an audience and make them reflect on such a controversial topics"
After the ironic The Wolf of Wall Street, Scorsese's latest ambitious project, Silence, painstakingly analyses the more dramatic tone of human religious strength and self sacrifice when hearing God's voice becomes almost impossible.
Set during Portuguese colonialism in which catholic priests were sent to Japan to convert as many people as possible to the sacred faith, two young priests decide to embark on a rescue mission to find their mentor after receiving jarring news about him.
During their dangerous journey, their faith in God is tested while fighting against the Japanese inquisition working to eradicate the new faith from their country. When it comes to Scorsese's artistry in making high quality movies that showcase human flaws and the strong desire to thrive for perfection, his style is always recognisable and in Silence the psychological analysis of human behaviours becomes the focal point of the film.
Since its themes are quite heavy and still contemporary, it is easy to feel the length of the movie can become quite overwhelming. However, since it is mainly a deep analysis of the human strength in their faith, be it on their religion or their mentors, it is necessary to dig deeper into the story and give space to the protagonists' difficult psychological journey.
The cinematography employed strongly depicts the sense of abandonment and hopelessness felt by the two missionaries and the panoramic shot of the Japanese wilderness is breathtaking. The high quality definition and true tone colours in every shot is remarkable too and the aerial sequences look like moving paintings for their neat tones.
The close-ups on the characters are there to further highlight their state of mind and their emotions. Pushing the camera on them to make them appear more vulnerable and lost, enhancing that sense of religious loss. All that the young pastors have to endure is visible in their pained eyes and their starving bodies. What makes the situation even more poignant is the abrupt interruptions of sounds. This choice is clearly a reminder for the title and these constructed moments of silence are there to portray the absence of God's presence and Pastor Rodrigo's almost faltering faith in God and his plan.
What is odd, but also pretty identifiable with Scorsese's style, is the small dark comic relief provided by Kichijiro, a recurring character in the story who is constantly forsaking God to save his life and then seek for a confession and absolution for his sin. This character becomes the embodiment of the reason why Christianity was failing at taking root in Japan; because of the different cultural and religious background as well as their understanding of God and Christianity.
The cast as a whole is remarkable in fluidly mixing together two different cultures as well as portraying the clash between the two religions throughout the movie. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver are committed to their performances throughout the film, even though at the beginning the latter seems too composed and stiff. Both actors, however, understand the mindset of Rodrigues and Garrpe and their choice to sacrifice themselves for what they’ve believed in their whole lives.
In creating such a complex and meaningful movie, Scorsese brings to the screen another masterpiece that has the power to deeply move an audience and make them reflect on such a controversial topics like religion and faith.