Review: Silence (2017)


Martin Scorsese’s labour of love is an expansive – and frequently monotonous – portrait of faith in the face of persecution and torture. It’s sprawling and contemplative, more or less focused on one priest’s internal conflict as he searches for his mentor (Liam Neeson), who’s rumoured to have apostatised. Andrew Garfield, as capable as he is, never quite seems like the right fit in the lead role, perhaps because he’s outshone early on by Adam Driver. The passion Scorsese has for the material – which is based on Shusaku Endo’s historical novel – is clear throughout, no less in the run time. Yet there’s a certain lack of drama to the narrative that leads to stretches of tedium. It doesn’t help that the direction lacks bold moves, instead sticking to a steady stance that hardly incites the dread Garfield’s Rodrigues must be feeling. No matter the faults, however, there’s undoubtedly a certain respect for what Scorsese’s attempting, and the harsh, unrelenting punch the visuals pack compensates somewhat for the film’s shortcomings.

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