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.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Paramount - 2016
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds
Kim Allen Kluge & Kathryn Kluge
Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese
March 28, 2017
"Sometimes Silence is the Deadliest Sound"
Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to a country hostile to their religion, where feudal lords force the faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs.
Based on the novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence
, co-written/directed by Martin Scorsese, is a powerful period drama that speaks to the human condition, through the eyes of Jesuit priests, Rodrigues, and Garupe, as they volunteer to travel to Japan, under secrecy, to search out Fr. Ferreria, a Jesuit priest that traveled to the area years earlier, but hasn’t been heard from since. Carrying the message of Christianity to a predominately Buddhist country, where the governing body sees their faith as both weak and subversive, the two men find pockets of Japanese Christians that practice in secret, and revere them as priests.
Before long their presence draws the attention of the regional “Inquisitor”, a samurai, empowered by the governing body, who terrorizes the local village, making examples of those believed to be following the Christian/Catholic doctrine. Fearing capture or further persecution of the locals, the two priests decide to split up in order to continue their search for Fr. Ferreria, and further spread the word of Christ.
Unfortunately, Fr. Rodrigues’ luck runs out and he finds himself in the hands of the Inquisitor, winding up a prisoner, and facing a tribunal bent on breaking him. It is there that he finds out the answers he has been seeking regarding the whereabouts of Fr. Ferrreria. He will also discover truths that will test his faith and manhood.
I heard positive things about this film, and seeing as Martin Scorsese was in the director’s chair, I had high expectations. Silence
tells a very dark, emotionally stirring story, about faith, and devotion, that examines complex themes via an overtly nuanced narrative that plays out over two and a half plus hours. At moments, I found myself transfixed by the subject matter, while at other times, I felt that the minutia bogged down the flow of the story. I really enjoyed the introspective nature of the film and how it offered the opportunity to fully realize the plight of not only the Christians in Japan, but that of Fr. Rodrigues.
I thought that Andrew Garfield did a fine job, as did the members of the supporting cast, excluding Liam Neeson, who essentially made a cameo. Adam Driver is fast becoming one of my favorite character actors. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough screen time in this film to truly have an impact. I wanted to like Silence
more than I did. It’s a quality film that suffers from an overlong script, where the payoff doesn’t quite match the time investment.
The rating is for some disturbing violent content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
Silence comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.5 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation Resolution is excellent as images are clearly rendered with appreciable detail and discerning nuance during close-ups. The chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks solid on Blu-ray.
Being a dialogue driven film the ability to clearly render that aspect is an important element of the soundtrack. This DTS-HD Master Audio presentation had no problem in that regard. Voices were reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture that appropriately held sway over the front soundstage. The surround mix made apropos use of the sound platform to render the films elements. I found it to be subtly engaging as it recreated the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The soundstage offered a nicely balanced mixture of ambience/background sounds and music that characterized the mood of the scene. There weren’t any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix however the subwoofer was used to provide low bass emphasis where appropriate.
- (HD) Martin Scorsese’s Journey into Silence
- Digital HD Copy
Based on the novel by Shusaku Endo, and co-written/directed by Martin Scorsese, Silence
is clearly a work of passion for the famed director. It tells a very dark, emotionally stirring story, about faith, and devotion, that examines complex themes that resonate. While I found that aspect of the film to be engaging, it simply ran too long, painting in strokes that were simply too fine. It comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring excellent technical merits and a middling supplemental package. Silence
is recommended for genre fans that enjoy films of its ilk. For all others it may be a bit much to bite off.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package