Monday, September 26, 2016

Martin Scorsese Joins the Oscars 2016 Race as "Silence" Gets a Release Date

Scene from Silence
If you're an Oscar fan, you'll know how busy the Christmas season is. In the few weeks leading up to December 25, these heavyweight films will be opening: La La Land, Miss Sloane, Collateral Beauty, Fences, The Founder, Rogue One, and A Monster Calls. That doesn't include any potential shifts or changes that will likely come between now and then. However, the one major news that should be met with equal excitement and dread of having to cram yet another movie into the holiday season comes from director Martin Scorsese. With many speculating when his latest Silence was going to be released, it officially has a late December release. Speaking as it's worked out nicely for him before with The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street, one can only imagine that this is a good sign of things to come.

The news around Silence has mostly remained, to some extent, silent. However, today marks the announcement that will have many enthused. The film will open on December 23 in limited release. With a screenplay by Jay Cocks (Gangs of New York) and his longest running time at 195 minutes, it is going to be an ambitious film for sure. Considering that Scorsese's films always should be seen as event films, this is an exciting addition to the Christmas movie line-up. Of course, that is if a movie that is over three hours fits into your schedule. 

The cast features Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield, and many more. The story is based on a novel by Shusaku Endo. The plot according to IMDb is:
In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity.
The film itself sounds fascinating given Scorsese's personal religious beliefs. While he often makes films about corrupt individuals, the center relies on a fairly accepted Catholic belief that no man is entirely good. There's always conflict. Films like Mean Streets and The Last Temptation of Christ show his deeper beliefs in more coherent ways. To see him tackle it once again in an epic format is sure to produce interesting and personal results. I am willing to believe that, given his track record, it will be worth watching and possibly even great.

Now the marketing starts. With a little under three months to go, Silence has to make its mark on audiences. Considering that Garfield is also looking at Oscar potential from Hacksaw Ridge, it will be interesting to see if this is the year that he gets his much needed breakout. If nothing else, Scorsese's work with Driver may even produce the actor some Oscar love: an odd notion given his lack of high profile prestige work prior to this film. After all, it worked for Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street (admittedly with one other Oscar nomination to his credit). It's a promising film, and hopefully one that produces plenty of surprises for the road ahead. Who knows what's in store, but it's nice to have Silence and Scorsese on the road ahead. Fingers crossed that it's good.

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