Silent Review


Benjamin Becker, Entertainment and Communications Editor

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Poetic yet choppy. Driven yet pointless. Monotonous yet gripping. Silent is a movie so simple and straightforward that is compels the viewer to look for added meaning, and then delivers all the meaning that could be desired. So similar to No Country for Old Men, not only in that the only noise provided is dialogue and ambient sound, but that such a simple, understood journey could have so many implied undertones and extra nuances that force the viewer to stay along for the ride rather than doze off in their seat

Japan’s leaders have an oppressive fist clenched around religious freedom in their country, mainly concerning the outlawing of all forms of Christianity. Two Christian Missionaries enter the country to find their mentor and reestablish their religion throughout Japan. However, they are soon faced with a simple question concerning whether to denounce their religion or cement their faith and let hundreds more faceless villagers meet their death: What would Jesus do?

That’s where this movie succeeds. The eternal struggle of sacrificing his faith for others, the faceless villagers, the whole lot of it. For example, when a villager is executed, rather than focusing on the blade of the sword, then moving to the face of the executioner, then to the face of  the villager about to be executed, then to the sword swinging down and executing the villager the movie decided to show all of that in the background as one swift motion, with Andrew Garfield’s character, Father Rodrigues, in the foreground, taking it all in and letting it weigh in on his decision. To the audience, the villager’s death is as trivial as a bug being smushed, but they know how profoundly it will affect Rodrigues’ decision so they are forced to care. The audience also stays alert because they are intrigued whether or not Rodrigues will denounce his faith, the pivotal decision in the movie.

There are countless other examples of these scenes slowly churned out through this seemingly endless movie, but despite its long running time and attentiveness to the unimportant, this movie is worth watching at least once. The character arcs alone are enough to intrigue most to the film, but add that to the beautiful cinematography makes this a quality movie. As Scorsese’s passion project for the past 28 years, this movie outlines his own religious struggles and past loneliness, which only adds another layer to this already blanketed film.