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USA 2016 - with Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Silence
Direction:Martin Scorsese
Cinema release:02.03.2017
Production country:USA 2016
Running time:Approx. 162 min
Rated:Age 12+

In 1638, two young priests Father Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garpe (Adam Driver) set out for Japan to find out what happened to their teacher Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson). They don't want to believe the rumors that Ferreira betrayed his religion and renounced his faith. But when they arrive in Japan, they have to realize how brutally Christians are persecuted here and that there is only death for them if they do not renounce their faith. The two young men are confronted with enormous cruelty here and after a journey filled with death, brutality and betrayal, even the extremely devout Sebastião must ask himself how his God can remain silent in the face of such cruelty.

Silence is an absolute passion project from director Martin Scorsese. Back in the late 1980s, he made the decision that he wanted to make a film of this story. At the time, after showing his film The Last Passion of the Christ to New York religious leaders, he had met Archbishop Paul Moore, who gave him a copy of Shūsaku Endō's historical novel Silence. Reading the novel, published in 1966, Scorsese was confronted with many fundamental questions about Christianity that triggered something in him that he was eager to bring to the screen. However, although he was soon writing a first draft of the screenplay, it was many years before this project would actually become a reality.

You can tell the film is an affair of the heart. Scorsese strikes a whole new, almost intimate narrative tone here that is so completely different from what he's been shooting lately. It would be hard to imagine a greater contrast to his last feature, The Wolf of Wall Street. Visually, Silence is absolutely gorgeous. There are some images that really burn into you, with mesmerizing beauty often meeting disturbing brutality here. There are also some scenes that have a lasting effect due to their profound dialogues and make you think intensely. Still, the nearly three-hour flick fails to leave an all-around positive impression.

Because in the end, the story could have been told much more compactly and thus perhaps even a bit more effectively and intensely. But Scorsese loses himself here too often in meaning-laden slowness and in content repetitive scenes that it is difficult to stay there with full attention. That's a nice paraphrase for the fact that it can get yawningly boring at times. There might be viewers who see this as great cinematic art or who are so carried away by the subject matter that such boredom doesn't come up for them. And for such viewers Silence is guaranteed to be a great work. But everyone else will have to fight a hard battle against sleep at the latest from the halfway point on, which not everyone will win. That's why the bottom line is only one: Still worth seeing with clear restrictions!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "Silence (USA 2016)"
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