At First Glance: “Silence”

You hear about some films for a long time. Sometimes it seems that what is talked about will only ever be just that. It isn’t until things start coming out related to that film, when you finally know there’s a real possibility that you’ll be seeing that film some time in the near future. Sometimes the wait truly is worth it.

The upcoming Paramount Pictures film “Silence”, looks absolutely beautiful, moving, and powerful and is probably going to be a film that should be seen by as many people as possible.

This film stars Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”, “99 Homes”), Adam Driver (upcoming projects “Patterson”, “Girls”), and Liam Neeson (upcoming “A Monster Calls”, “Inside Amy Schumer”).

The film is directed by Martin Scorsese (“Vinyl”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”) and written by Jay Cocks (“De-Lovely”, “Gangs of New York”) and Scorsese (“I Call First”, “A Letter to Elia”). Is is based on the novel of the same name by Shūsako Endō.

It is expected to open in a limited capacity on Dec. 23, 2016 and a wide release probably in January 2017.I’ve been hearing about this film for a few months now, but as this month is almost over, and awards season kicking off, with release after release of major films and indies, I kind of gave up hope. I just started thinking this film wouldn’t arrive until late next year. As it turns out, it’s just around the corner. And after this stunning first trailer, I’m thrilled that so much time and care was put into it. That Scorsese was allowed (or had no choice) to take his time. I have high hopes that this film will deliver in every way possible. It’ll be absolutely worth it.

The story, as the trailer points out, is simple. Two Jesuit priests are sent out looking for a third who’s being held in Japan. It is the seventeenth century.

And the images do the rest.

Largely devoid of any dialogue, except to really briefly explain what was going on, this trailer hits every major point you want to see in a film you hope is good.

It’s beautiful, breathtaking even, and powerful. Above all else, it is powerful. When I first saw it, even the second time, I was blown away. So much authenticity, I won’t have to work hard to be there. This is a perk, obviously, as I can then just be in the moment. Be in the story, no matter what happens. There’s also a lot of brutal violence towards the Japanese people due to Garfield and Driver’s presence. It’s even stated, “The price for your glory, is their suffering.” There’s certainly no end to that, but what I also saw, a lot of humanity and hope. It should be interesting to see how this film’s story navigates that among many other themes.

Already I’m marveling at the sets, locations, and cinematography. It is what I expect from an epic film, especially one directed by a man of Scorsese’s caliber. And let’s make it crystal clear, if it wasn’t the sentence before, this film is an epic! It’s listed as coming in at two hours and 39 minutes. I wasn’t surprised. That’s how big this trailer looks and feels. You could practically touch any image shown to you. Because of this, I just knew there was no way to tell this story without a lengthy runtime. This film will no doubt fully immerse you, and even after it’s over, it’ll probably be difficult to shake.

Which is where we’ll probably get some powerful performances. Being mostly devoid of dialogue, you have to go on the images. This is fine. They’re powerful, but they tell you a lot about what to expect from the performances. What to hope for, at the least. I expect some of the best work of Garfield’s and Driver’s careers. Cliché? A bit, but as I’ve seen a lot, but not seen enough, I believe they’ll both deliver. This is also a positive of the lengthy runtime, the film can be purely driven by characters and story, which will only have you that more invested. There’s also so much here, that it’s not difficult to understand why they took these roles. The desire to work with Scorsese was probably just a perk, or came in third or fourth on the list of reasons to take this job, if not lower.

The wait for some films is almost unbearable. There’s so much time between whenever you hear about it and it’s actual release. For those films that are taking years to be completed, by ensuring that absolute care is taken and the right story told, that’s a blessing. Too often some films that should’ve been better weren’t, and it’s because they were rushed. This film looks anything but rushed, and all audiences who take a chance on this, will no doubt be rewarded and come away seeing what true master filmmaking should be.


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