After The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997), Silence (2016) is a glorious ending to Martin Scorsese’s religious trilogy of epic and biblical proportions, provoking thoughts on the conflict of faith and flesh, leaving one contemplative and reflective to the power of spirituality.
Silence is an enigmatic discussion about a man’s unprecedented hold onto faith amidst the ironies and propositions that come along with it. Martin Scorsese uses a lot of allegorical techniques, making the narrative rely so much on quietness and stillness, making it parallel towards the protagonist’s psyche, of hearing what the Lord has to say amidst all the silence of his faith. It gives a lot of room for the audience to reflect. That being said, this film is more than just about being studied or examined – it’ll make you go deep inside your spiritual self and open up your senses to live and experience the voyage of the lost and the hopeful, despite not having any promises or certainties. Silence is the epitome of a film about faith – for all of what it is. There are several moments where it felt like Scorsese has revolutionized a new genre of filmmaking solely based on spirituality, as if watching the film is almost a meditation, making one seize the mind and soul; question your beliefs and challenge your faith.
On a technical perspective, Scorsese gave us such fine photography all throughout. The film has such refined cinematography, making it a visually striking piece, it’s almost a contemporary painting full of cold hues and chilly undertones.
Andrew Garfield has once again proven his worth of playing characters subdued in belief with ripped vulnerability amidst the dilemmas of one’s faith and religion – something that he has already accomplished in Hacksaw Ridge. Garfield has that luminous trait of fragility and innocence that juggles the burning fire of passion and the weakness of the unknowing, making almost all of his portrayals so well-balanced, and far from overdoing or underdoing it. His portrayal as Padre Sebastiao Rodriguez is no exception.
Overall, Silence gives us what faith does – it provokes our beliefs; questions our logic; tests our resilience; and most importantly, it makes us contemplate on holding onto the unknown and hoping for an answer, despite the silent responses we get from our prayers. It gives the argument of are we heard? If yes, why the silence? Where is the voice of God? Is He actually speaking to me, or am I just convincing myself of hearing a bleak of whisper amidst the dead silence after I pray? Is the role of faith and religion a mere tool to give hope, or is it as real as the air we breathe?
This film has to be one of Martin Scorsese’s finest works to date. Clearly, the most underrated film of 2016.
5 out of 5 stars