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Martin Scorsese
Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds
Writing Credits:
Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese

In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumored to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Catholicism.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 161 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/28/2017

• “Martin Scorsese’s Journey Into Silence” Featurette


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Silence [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 22, 2017)

When we last saw Martin Scorsese in the director’s chair, he created 2013’s Wolf Of Wall Street, a brash, profane tale of greed and lust. With 2016’s Silence, Scorsese returns to films with a wholly different kind of story.

Set in 17th century Japan, Portuguese priest Cristovão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) suddenly goes missing. Concerned about their older compatriot, fellow priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) head east to find him.

This journey comes with significant danger, however, as Japan strictly bans Christianity and treats its practitioners with brutal punishment. Into this setting, the priests risk their lives to locate Ferreira and also to assist the oppressed Japanese who continue to pursue Christianity.

Scorsese’s fascination with faith-related topics isn’t new, with 1988’s Last Temptation of Christ as the most notable example. Silence lacks the controversy that came with the 1980s film, but it takes a similar path, as it shows those who sacrifice themselves to follow their religious destinies.

While Temptation delivered a rich, faith-affirming journey, Silence seems much less involving. For a tale of devotion and passion, the film seems awfully free from emotion. In the face of suffering, the movie doesn’t provide much real emotional impact.

Which makes Silence closer to Passion of the Christ than to Last Temptation. While I felt Scorsese’s Temptation invested in its themes and characters well, Passion felt more superficial, as it emphasized suffering over meaning.

I think Silence strikes more of a balance between the two poles, but I still feel it hews closer to Passion than Temptation, largely because it never connects in an emotional way. In Silence, we see a lot of pain and conflict but we don’t truly feel much of it. Intellectually, I recognized the sacrifices, but these never hit me in a compelling way.

Some of this comes from the fact Silence doesn’t give its leads much to do, though to refer to Rodrigues and Garupe both as “leads” stretches reality. In truth, the film tells Rodrigues’s journey – Garupe enjoys little screen time and plays a surprisingly small role in the proceedings.

That leaves Rodrigues as the major focal point, and this becomes a liability because he remains pretty dull much of the time. Silence gives the character few actions to perform, as it turns him into a passive personality who observes more than he acts.

Rodrigues does go through a crisis of faith, and his path takes twists one may not expect. These intend ultimately to convey his devotion, but again, his essential passivity makes it difficult to connect with him. We don’t truly feel the passion of his beliefs so we don’t fret over his various conflicts.

I simply don’t sense a lot of depth or meaning from Silence. While the film tosses out sacrificial ideas of faith, it tends to feel contrived and not especially convincing, like the characters spout beliefs out of obligation and not emotion.

Much of the movie comes across as a series of lectures. Characters discuss religion and related notions, but they do so in a pedantic manner that doesn’t let these topics ignite. Instead, we tend to get a bland recitation of ideas brought to us with little feeling.

All of this turns Silence into a fairly slow, dull journey. When the movie concentrates on the Japanese Christians, it shows promise, but since it sticks with its lackluster Portuguese lead character so much of the time, the end result turns into a flat, bland tale.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Silence appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a strong image.

Sharpness was good, as the movie appeared well-defined and concise. Only a sliver of softness impacted some wide shots, as most of the film delivered a precise, tight impression. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of print issues, no concerns materialized.

Most of Silence opted for a heavy teal orientation, with occasional orange elements as well. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity. This became a solid “B+” presentation.

I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Silence, as it added impact to the presentation. Most the sonic power came from watery elements, as scenes in/on the ocean used the various channels in a pretty involving manner.

Non-seaside scenes seemed more limited, but they still conveyed a reasonable sense of setting. Add to that good stereo music and occasional directional dialogue and we get a soundfield with a fair amount of breadth

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full. Effects were accurate and dynamic. Low-end response showed good thump and richness. A complementary track, the audio merited a “B”.

The Blu-ray includes only one extra: Martin Scorsese’s Journey Into Silence. During this 24-minute, 30-second piece, we hear from writer/director Scorsese, co-writer Jay Cocks, consultant Father James Martin, UCLA Associate Professor of History Katsuya Hirano, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, co-producers Emma Tillinger Koskoff , Irwin Winkler, and Gaston Pavlovovich, director of photography Rodrigo Prieto, and actors Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Issei Ogata and Liam Neeson.

“Journey” looks at the source novel and its adaptation, the tale’s long path to the screen, the history behind the story, narrative and characters, cast and performances, shooting in Taiwan, and photography. “Journey” never becomes a great view of the production, but it delivers some nice footage from the set and gives us just enough information to make it worthwhile.

Via 2016’s Silence, Martin Scorsese openly examines aspects of Christianity for the first time in almost 30 years, but don’t expect a rich experience on a par with The Last Temptation of Christ. Silence becomes a surprisingly emotionless tale that does little to connect to the religious devotion at its heart. The Blu-ray provides positive picture and audio along with a decent behind the scenes featurette. Silence becomes disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.25 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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