Thursday, 5 January 2017

REVIEW: SILENCE

4/5

Lost In Temptation.

161 Minutes. Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Shinya Tsukamoto, Yosuke Kobozuka, Issy Ogata, Ciaran Hinds & Liam Neeson. Director: Martin Scorsese.

Shh! Do you hear that? Sometimes believing doesn't always have to be seeing. Sometimes the sound of 'Silence' speaks louder. And after finally screaming "Action" on his spiritually gruelling and enlightening epic after 'The Last Temptation' of the 80's, God like 'Goodfellas' director Martin Scorsese gives us his word on the good book based on the novel of the same name by Tokyo writer Shusaku Endo. And after Scorsese spent almost three decades trying to get 'Silence' in cinemas like those people with the balls to report someone on their phones to ushers, we can give him around three hours of our time. Especially when Marty gives us a film as big and bold as his 'Taxi Driver', 'Casino', 'The Departed', 'The Aviator' and 'Gangs Of New York' best. Taking us back to the 17th century when the good lord was far from big in Japan, all whilst taking Liam Neeson to the Far East and back to his Oscar worthy roots of 'Schindlers List' and 'Michael Collins' biopics. As listen to me very carefully, this time he is the one that needs to be rescued. And it's going to take Kylo-Ren and Spider-Man to do it. As Scorsese unloads scores of young acting talent like we've never seen them before. Literally giving us the bones of 'Midnight Special' and 'Star Wars' star Adam Driver, taxing shotgun alongside fellow Jesuit priest Andrew Garfield's Jesus like hair and beard. Growing into not only an Oscar contender going up against himself (see his real concientious objector still going to real life war in 'Hacksaw Ridge'), but Scorsese's potential latest, multiple actor collaborator after bringing the bull and wolf out of De Niro and DiCaprio repectively after taking them to 'Shutter Island' and the 'Mean Streets'. Not bad for a kid who was shown the locker as Peter Parker. I guess losing the role as Marvel's most popular web-slinger doesn't bite...unless you're Tobey Maguire. This career turn isn't really redemption...but it's sure a reclamation project akin to it.

Atheist or God fearer you'll believe in this big picture come its final amen. And that's in part thanks to Martin, Andrew, Adam and Liam. The heaven sent cast bring light to this picture even facing the heart of darkness with only a cross to bear. Now the only thing shining brighter might be the gold of Oscars Academy as this looks to take the gleam off 'Moonlight', 'Manchester By The Sea', 'Fences' and Hollywoodlands 'La La Land' come the February stars flasbulbing at Kodak, director, actor and maybe even picture. The cinematography. The vision. The spirit of these soulful performances. They are all the makings of a timeless classic steeped in tradition and stepping forward in a legacy of the same legend. Forget catching a Spider, Andrew Garfield has the Holy Ghost in him as he kneels down before us and bares his soul in a heartbreakingly good performance as powerful as the film he's in. Confirming himself as a powerhouse actor post-30, he doubles-up (no wonder he co-interviewed fellow award 'Arrival', 'Nocturnal Animal' double-threat Amy Adams for Variety this fall) with this and the conscience of his fellow emotional warfare film 'Heartbreak Ridge', that shows the inner and outer turmoil between countries and culture and one mans relentless, unflinching heart to stick to his belief no matter what bayonet or samurai is put between his eyes. Eyes that only see God. Like Adam Driver who always looks to finish what he started. A man on a mission so clear it's as present as his starved skin, hanging off an all fleshed out performance that is more than a supporting role, but one that you would literally give it all for. Excruciatingly exceeding every expectation of the driven talent of a man we finally get to see behind that Sith mask. With a belief rooted firmly in these two priests, even those wading in the wages of sin could be delivered from evil.

Never to be whitewashed like they claim 'The Great Wall' of Matt Damon playing a Keanu Reeves '47 Ronin' will be, here the Asian actors stand out as much as Hollywood's biggest and best. 'Thor' warrior Tadanobu Asano is the most recognisable and complex, going through more critical and cruel change than any character you pinned or lost hope on. Even more than Yosuke Kobozuka's character, a man sinning to unforgivness, far from Judas but one who would step on Jesus repeatedly to save his own wretched skin. The real villain of sorts here is the somewhat inspired Issy Ogata, with the unmistakable tone of voice of someone who could only bring tried and tested trouble. Not everyone is painted with the same brush here however as 'Shin Godzilla' actor Shinya Tsukamoto is the real inspiration here and scene stealer. Taking our every empathy too as his emotive character brings more than sympathy but the spirit to survive and the soul to thrive under the guidance of what you consider testament. Praise him and his name. Character actor Ciaran Hinds who was oh so good and oh so definitly different in Miles Teller's 'Bleed For This' boxing bout plays a high priest here with wary wisdom and sage sacraments. But it's Liam Neeson's tortured priest and the nuanced expression of apprehensive anguish and aggravation behind the peace under duress he's preaching that really is the silence that speaks louder action than any words on his screenplay. The middle-aged Friday evening actioneer is returning to the roles and acting that made his name so hallowed. And it's all thanks to the power and glory of Scorsese, who in holding up a mirror to wars of religion still prevelant today and our own reflective beliefs (no matter how privately illuminated or put upon in the shadows of public eyes), leaves us asking not only questions of ourselves and others, but our place in this world and the great beyond and in turn all of thats place in us, body and soul. Answering the call in the name of the father, 'Silence' may be Scorsese's loudest exclamation yet in all of humanities beauty and brutality. And right now in a trumped, oppressed world devoid of God or even good we all need a bit of 'Silence'. Take a moment. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See This If You Liked: 'The Last Temptation Of Christ', 'Hacksaw Ridge', 'Unbroken'.

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