Posted Jan 01 2017

Silence - This Marty Movie Fails The Rocks - Big Time

Dir: Martin Scorsese

Starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Issei Orgata, Ciaran Hinds

Martin Scorsese has spent over thirty years struggling to bring Shusaku Endo’s nature-of-faith novel to the screen. It saddens us to report that either he hasn’t succeeded, or it wasn’t worth the wait. Possibly a mixture of the two.

The bare bones of the plot involves Garfield and Driver’s devout Jesuits sent to 17th century feudal Japan, in part to spread the good word, but also to try and locate the priest who preceded them, Liam Neeson (he’s been Taken – whoops -  or so they surmise.)

But Scorsese’s film is less concerned with such earth bound concepts as “plot” (or indeed “entertainment.”) For him, and by turns he hopes his audience, Silence is more an examination of faith and belief than it is about event. Which may well work for someone who is concerned with their own sense of belief and faith, as the filmmaker clearly is, and has been all the way back to Mean Streets. But what Scorsese fails to do here – and given the man in question, this is a spectacular fail – is to make this search relevant to any other viewers. Thus we are presented initially with faith as an implacable thing, which, as it gets tested, does indeed become questioned, but never really in a way that fully addresses doubt. It’s almost as if such doubt is there solely to test the stoic steadfastness of faith itself. It’s like a debate with a person who has no desire to listen – which is a very strange thing to lay at Marty’s door.

Subsequently, the Japanese (for the most part) become one-dimensional stereotypes, and not in a nice way. Imagine The Mission meets Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and you’re part of the way there, although both those movies had terrific soundtracks you could fall back on. This relies on the sound of cicadas, pounding waves, and the presence of no less than 30 producers on the titles. (Good thing it’s Oscar chances are now zero – can you imagine them all showing up to clutch one little statuette?)

This has obviously been a passion project for the director. But whilst it remains true that Scorsese is incapable of making a bad movie, now we sadly have proof that he can make a unrelentingly boring one.

(We’re off to watch the ‘ludes scene from Wolf Of wall Street on repeat.)


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