From the Golden Globes to the Producers Guild and potentially the Academy, it appears everyone has gone silent on Silence. Following a United States release on December 23, 2016, the passion project that cast names like Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver is at major risk of losing out on all counts. As the box office takings are sitting at a poorly $912,869 from a $50m budget.
The historical epic based off the Shusaku Endo novel of 1966 has been described by many critics as staying true to the text. And, while it would have enjoyed wide acclaim decades ago when Scorsese first looked at making the feature some 28 years prior, it seems the timing is not right. Left off the BAFTA nominations completely, there is no momentum running into the major awards to speak of.
Biggest Setback In Scorsese's Career?
For a feature that runs 160-minutes, this is not a movie to sit down and take in lightly as the early reception seems to have ebbed away slowly with films like La La Land, Moonlight, Fences, Sully and Jackie taking more of the limelight. Deborah Ross of the Spectator gave a less than eloquent appraisal of Scorsese's work as she believes it will struggle to draw in and maintain the attention spans of a general audience.
“The torture porn is spectacularly inventive," writes Ross. "But its commercial compromises may drive you to distraction . . . it is punishingly repetitive and, at nearly three hours, sooooooo, sooooooo long.”
A nomination at the Academy before the January 24 deadline could provide some much needed solace for the filmmaker, yet Camilla Long of the Sunday Times is left in no doubt that it was a waste of time for a director that raised the bar too high for himself.
“What is this film actually about?" poses Long. "If there is an actor who can persuade me that stamping on an image of Christ is a moment of thrilling drama, it is not Garfield . . . It is Scorsese at his most sentimental and his weakest. Halfway into its interminable 161 minutes, I realised that Silence stood for something else as well: the silence of fans and critics, or anyone who might say what a flimsy, tokenistic, ego-driven brainfart it is.”
Maligned Martin: Frank Sinatra Biopic Dropped
The 74-year old's work shouldn't have him missing any sleep, developing such creations as Goodfellas,Taxi Driver, The Departed and Raging Bull to name but a few. Yet the veteran has let 8 years go by in the hope that he could retell the story of Frank Sinatra on the big screen, only to be denied.
With the family and those interested parties involved scrapping any hope for Scorsese to make the dream a reality, the director spoke to The Toronto Sun to say that he had to move on. Explaining that it was taken out of his hands altogether.
“We can’t do it!” exclaimed Scorsese. “I think it is finally over. (The Sinatra estate) won’t agree to it.”
As Frank once said, the best revenge is massive success and despite these couple of speed bumps, few could argue that Scorsese remains an icon of the craft.