Following up on an absurdly unapologetic box office hit filled with drugs, sex, and more drugs, Martin Scorsese brings the box office BOMB titled, Silence (2016). There is no question that the subject matter between The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and its proceeding film cannot strain any further from one another. Although Scorsese frequents the violent underground world of greed, crime, and murder… you must remember, he is also a devout Christian. Some call this versatile! Others may call this confusing! Throughout the work of the director hints of the old school Catholic guilt can be found especially in the films featuring Italian-Americans. Even further, Scorsese pushes the concept of worship and religion (sometimes outside of his own beliefs) and dedicates entire films to them, such as The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997). Both respectable films in terms of greater themes of a higher being and a spiritual purpose. However, with Silence, Scorsese persists in stabbing at a tired genre.
Centered around two Portuguese missionaries during the 17th century, Father Rodrigues played by Andrew Garfield, and Father Garupe played by Adam Driver take on the demanding journey to Japan to secure their holiness. To do this, the missionaries must find their missing mentor, Father Ferreira, played by Liam Neeson. While in Japan, the two men come across a group of villagers who secretly worship Christianity in underground dwellings. If the Christian believers are caught, they must renounce their faith or face a long, gruesome death. While trying to stay alive, the ministers fight for their faith to prosper and no longer stay SILENT.
The approach taken in this film is great. Temptation and guilt lurk throughout all of Scorsese’s work, and questions of faith form, and is especially evident in this project. In addition, Silence has some of—if not, the best visuals and cinematography seen from Scorsese. There are no sharp cuts or quick crash zooms that are usually expected. Instead, the camera methodically hold shots, or slowly tracks taking in the scenery…making for a slow-paced film. Which is a strong artistic choice and appropriate for the context, but not the most eye-catching. This did not translate well into the film’s box-office which brought in just under $24 million, against a production budget of $40-50 million (Boxofficemojo). Oof! This is even worse considering the previous film, The Wolf of Wall Street was Marty’s highest-grossing film with a box-office performance of around $400 million! Numbers aside, the filmmaking put into Silence is unbeatable, but the subject matter is not the most appealing to today’s audiences.
Story/Plot – 14/20 Direction – 17/20 Acting - 17/20
Cinematography – 20/20 Score/Soundtrack – 15/20
The Founder of @HennionProductions,