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Scorsese Hears God in ‘Silence’

For a subject as complex and multifaceted as religion, most films about the subject are either propaganda or black and white morality tales that make my eyes roll back 180 degrees. But every once in a while a master like Martin Scorsese takes on the heavens to deliver a transcendent vision of man’s soul. In Silence, Scorsese peers down on 17th century Japan as two Jesuit missionaries, Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garrpe (Adam Driver), trek into the hostile land of Japan to find their old mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who has been rumored to have given up the faith.

Silence could and should be viewed as a sequel to The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun, the first two films in Scorsese’s unofficial spiritual trilogy. Raised by a devoutly Catholic family, and once set to be a priest, Scorsese’s entire filmography is filled with Catholicism. Almost all are about guilt or some devotion that has replaced religion like power (Goodfellas), fame (The King of Comedy) or wealth (The Wolf of Wall Street).

Scorsese’s most popular films show men corrupted by dangerous lifestyles, and romanticize their excess to critique them from an omniscient point of view. This all-seeing POV hits a crescendo in Silence, an objectively agnostic meditation of faith and its opposition, which grows foggy and elusive the farther that the men of cloth travel into Japan’s swamp. This passion project—30 years in the making—is Scorsese’s obsessions brought to an emotionally wrenching and grueling surface that quietly asks BIG questions and receives no answers.

Sebastião Rodrigues is Scorsese’s new excessive character, albeit one that precedes gangsters, boxers and wall street wolves by centuries and is instead drowning in a recess and searching for excess. And Rodrigues’ only excess (Religion) is constantly attacked and belittled. Garfield does subtle, deeply moving work as the torn soul; conveying anguish and emotion with the tiniest of details. Early on Rodrigues and Garrpe experience “success” in locating a group of hidden Christians, but word of traveling Samurais outlawing Christianity sends them into hiding. While hidden they briefly wander out into the sunny garden of the Japan forest and the sight of a falcon is called “God’s sign” by Rodrigues, but this brief bite from the forbidden fruit is seen by the traveling Samurais and a Pandora’s box of horrors is unleashed.

Suspected Christians are placed on crosses in the ocean and slowly drowned. Others are wrapped in hay and burned. Scorsese’s camera unrelentingly stares at all of this with indifference. Yet, the repetition of these horrors seems to ask the same questions that Rodrigues does. It listens and waits for God to answer, but all that is heard is silence. The soundscape maintains a white noise and nature dominated silence as the film’s central “sound,” mirroring metaphysical silence and God’s absence, which paradoxically, and quite cleverly, is the film’s loudest element.

Apocalypse Now is the film that immediately comes to mind both in the similar plot of a fallen angel (Kurtz/Ferreira) and visuals of smoke and fog that visualize the murky morality and answers that are unable to be grasped. Sadly, there is no song by The Doors, but there is a mood throughout the film that “This Is The End.” Bergman’s obsession with god, and Kurosawa’s samurai tales are obvious influences. Kubrick and Tarkovsky come to mind with their omniscient POV’s. Specifically felt here is the latter’s earthy aesthetic and suggestion that faith is the only solution to the silent void. There are no obvious homages, but instead applicable techniques from these other masters. I’ve found that is what separates good directors from truly great ones. This film’s lurching between visual cinema and heavy dialogue occasionally feels abruptly and awkwardly edited, but there’s almost nothing here that feels like fat. The script is tightly structured and each scene feels composed.

What plot Scorsese had leaned on in the 1st act nearly evaporates as Father Garrpe leaves the picture and we solely follow Rodrigues. The painterly landscapes and encompassing water (shot gorgeously by Rodrigo Prieto) surround him, but the person he listens for amidst the death and persecution of Christians, is never heard. We less follow the story and more let it surround us (if you’re looking for something to grab onto you may become irritated or bored). While the opposition to Rodrigues’ mission and ideology is tested, the questioning of whether he should escape death and renounce Jesus or die a martyr, becomes the film’s driving question.

Asking that question is the best villain since Black Phillip haunted a family in 17th Century Massachusetts (The Witch, February 2016). Often, villains are superficially evil; they appear as outsiders who are angry and obviously in the wrong. Nope. Evil is your neighbor, the person you can have a conversation with but whose ideology seemingly attacks your own. It’s simply in their nature and how they were raised.

Me the samurai, Inoue Masashige (Issey Ogata), also known as The Inquisitor, a tauntingly wicked figure reminiscent of Hans Landa, sent from the depths of hell to smirk and eradicate an ideology with a disturbing rationale. His Bond villain charm makes for a worthy and understandable antagonist that slowly breaks down Rodrigues’ morale.

As if he’s Goldfinger monologuing to an imprisoned Bond, he maniacally utters, “The price for your glory is their suffering!” To save imprisoned Christians, all Rodrigues must do is renounce Jesus by stepping on a fumie, a stone picture of Jesus. The Inquisitor’s argument acutely points out Rodrigues’ ego, and brings about questions of religion’s purpose and its effect on humans. Rodrigues’ moral dilemma takes up much of the 2nd and 3rd act and grows repetitive to display his faith. The length is a necessary evil to reaching the emotional exhaustion needed for the film’s finale where the seven seals are opened and Rodrigues peers into the existential void.

There is an atmosphere of silence in Silenceboth literal and figurative—suggesting that there is nothing. It’s this haunted feeling of uncertainty and “impossible questions” that drives the film more than its ‘Heart of Darkness’ plot or Rodrigues’ moral dilemma. This storytelling might elude some viewers unable to process films without answers or more traditional storytelling techniques, but if you’re up to the challenge, your patience will be rewarded with a film that’s more of an enlightening scripture than a standard movie.

Throughout, Scorsese’s restraint has a Kubrickian omniscience (most obvious in the film’s aerial overhead shots) but the camera’s sparingly used gliding in and away from the characters feel like the film’s god acknowledging them, and are the only moments that may speak to the film’s meaning. To watch Silence is to be absorbed into an existential rorschach test. Answers are where you find them.

Here’s a film whose ending references Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey and it earns it through stunning craft and an obvious passion. Its mix of formal techniques sometimes feel a tad uneven, and a lack of rhythm in transitions between powerful visual sequences and heavy dialogue stop it from perfectly coalescing like Scorsese’s masterworks. The late introduction of a 3rd act character and a distracting special effect are jarring as well. Yet, I have the feeling that multiple viewings will eradicate these minor complaints. Like Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Scorsese is reaching beyond his grasp and the sequences where he grabs a hold of something ethereal and unknowable are GOAT cinematic moments that shake you to your very core. I left the theater barely able to walk (lack of water may have been a factor) and emotionally exhausted.

This won’t be the film from 2016 that I re-watch the most or enjoy the most, but it is 100% without a doubt the greatest film of 2016. Like his last film, The Wolf of Wall Street (a stone cold masterpiece), he’s made a film that’s simply operating on another plane and above most people’s heads. It’s a milestone for religious cinema that will one day join Andrei Rublev, The Seventh Seal, The Passion of Joan of Arc and more recently, The Tree of Life. Many filmmakers have looked above to ask questions that do not have answers. Here Scorsese asks “Is the silent void, torture or transcendence?” Silence, imperfectly, but miraculously, argues for both.

Grade: A


21 Responses so far.

  1. Christy Crary says:

    Another out of the ballpark review,
    analysis, pondering reflection!!!
    Thank you Mr.way better than siskel & ebert

  2. Scott Stone says:

    Hey Andy! Excellent review and can’t wait to see this! Scorsese is in my top 3!

    • andyzach says:

      Hey Scott, sorry for the late reply. What’d you think of Silence? It’s a lot to digest.

      • Scott says:

        Hey Andy, no worries man. I thought it was awesome, such a powerful film and hard to put into words. Yes it is a lot to digest on 1st watch, It literally left me speechless hence the term Silence. I’ve seen it twice so far and this is one of those films I can treasure for a lifetime, pure cinema at it’s finest indeed.

        Have you rewatched it and has your opinion on the film remain the same or even stronger perhaps?

        • andyzach says:

          I’ve not rewatched it because I was so exhausted from the first viewing (in a good way). My opinion on it is the same; I think it’s great. I think it might be Scorsese’s best since Goodfellas, but Wolf is right with it. It’s just astounding what Scorsese pulls off in this film’s final third.

          • Scott says:

            Astounding indeed! I have to praise your review here of this film. Absolutely fantastic in every way!

          • andyzach says:

            Thanks. Ya, I spent extra time on this one because I felt the need to try to articulate what it did to me — plus Scorsese just deserves it. I fully expect this to make people’s top tens at the end of the decade.

  3. Scott says:

    You’re welcome. I wanted to ask you what your take is on Wes Anderson?

    • andyzach says:

      I’m a fan and like everything he’s done to varying degrees, but I don’t quite think I’d rate any of his films as all time favorites. That’s not a knock on him, just a personal preference. I actually like his last two films the most. Moonrise Kingdom I absolutely love and consider it to be the 2nd or 3rd best film of 2012. What are your thoughts on him?

      • Scott says:

        I think Wes Anderson is just fascinating, unique, and wholly original, like one of a kind. And because of that, he will come off as a polarizing figure to some and at the very least an acquired taste. I had a hard time in the beginning embracing his films like most of us do but still respected the fact that here is someone different. I appreciated his approach and take on filmmaking and the fact that he is truly a director’s director. His control and command of the medium is palpable, only Hitchcock, Kubrick, Scorsese, and Spielberg compare in that department.(maybe The Coens and David Lynch) I could be missing a few others, but very few if any really? Anyone else i am missing here? They are conceptual filmmakers who have a vision from pre-production to post production(editing) and true auteurs in the complete sense that their films are not only unmistakably theirs but also the fact that no one could intervene and obstruct them from accomplishing their vision in any way shape or form. They are the whole deal combining extreme visual and thematic signatures. Watching their films are fascinating in itself just because of their meticulous attention to detail in every frame. Not to mention the controlling of their actors whether it be continuous takes or props thru storyboards. Just about to the point of obsession if you will. But if one is to look for a perfect model of a filmmaker to call their movies their own and to become a fan of, these are your guys.

        However back to Anderson specifically, I had a hard time adjusting to his style and tone at first due to being accustomed to the norm but I now realize his films get better with repeated viewings, Rushmore excepted. I liked that one the first time I saw it. But even with that one I like it more and more every time I see it. His other films especially reward with repeated viewings, getting something new each and every time. I see that opinion or view being shared by many in film circles online so I guess I am not alone in that aspect. I haven’t seen Bottle Rocket or The Darjeeling Unlimited yet. So the moral of the story is don’t give up on Anderson, keep watching and eventually it will click because there is so much under the surface that simply can’t be captured in one viewing with the human eye. It’s currently working for me and again as I gathered from so many on here.

        • andyzach says:

          Life Aquatic, Moonrise Kingdom, and Budapest totally clicked with me. Fantastic Mr. Fox is probably in their too. I think they’re great films, and I think they’ll become even richer as I watch them more. I do find some of the other 90s filmmakers to have completely unique styles, and I think I personally prefer them (collectively that whole group is my favorite of any era), but I will agree that Wes Anderson has the most unique and immediately recognizable. Perhaps only Kubrick and Lynch top him. In college I got to take an entire course on Wes Anderson’s filmography and I would love to go back through and watch his films from the beginning of his career to now. I can’t wait for Isle of Dogs, his Kurosawa film.

          • Scott says:

            How about The Royal Tenenbaums? I can’t get enough of that film, it’s just so freaking cool and unique at the same time. Hackman is controlled by Anderson and as a result his performance is amazing, some say his best ever. No other director could control Hackman which says a lot about Anderson. I guess what I was trying to say earlier for the most part, is that Anderson is only 1 of 3 filmmakers in American Cinema that is a complete control freak right down to the last detail including controlling actors within the confines of their characters. The other 2 being Hitchcock and Kubrick, we know how controlling they were. Maybe Spielberg too who is a conceptual controlling filmmaker. I’m not sure how controlling Lynch is or how much freedom he gave his actors, so perhaps he should be included also? Scorsese is controlling in a different way at least with actors as a form of collaboration from what I gather but still have to read up more on him. I do not include World Cinema as i have not gotten into international filmmakers, Polanski excepted but his biggest films are American. Do you mean Kubrick and Lynch top Anderson in what, style or recognizability? That’s really cool that you got to take a course on Anderson. My oldest brother took a course on Hitchcock and Hawks back in the early ’80s. I bet I can guess which ’90s filmmakers you prefer from your lists on here. I say the other Anderson, Paul Thomas, and Christopher Nolan? Anyone else I missed? I like both of those guys to some degree although they are not my favorites. I am anxious to see both of their new upcoming films though, especially Dunkirk. And yes I can’t wait to see Wes’s new film Isle of Dogs too, hearing great things about it so far. Nice chatting with you and getting your perspective.

          • andyzach says:

            Absolutely Royal belongs in there too; I have it on Criterion! I didn’t include it because I think Life Aquatic is his best “Dad” film. One of Murray’s greatest performances! I also think he’s gotten more dynamic post-Darjeeling (the only film of his I’m somewhat indifferent towards, although I love the short film in front of it). Royal is his definitive classic though.
            And regarding Lynch/Kubrick, I meant they, along with Wes, are the most immediately recognizable filmmakers because of their singular styles. But there have been filmmakers who have had stretches where they were just as singular and recognizable — Roeg in the 70s, Altman in the 70s, Hitchcock in the 50s, Spielberg’s pre-2000 blockbusters — but there’s something entirely unique about a filmmaker where EVERY single movie is just as unique to the filmmaker as their previous films.
            Yes! You’re correct on PTA and Nolan, my two faves (I could talk about them forever), but I’d also include Linklater (he’s got the most GREAT films of any 90s filmmaker), Tarantino, Fincher and the Coen bros (they’re late 80s so they don’t technically count). Maybe Lars Von Trier. I began to really get into film in the early 2000s so that 90s wave of filmmakers were the ones I fell in love with. To be more specific, Linklater and Nolan were the two that consistently articulated something intangible that went beyond their films and said something about the modern era. Linklater’s laid back “stick it to the man” attitude was very much embedded in the early 2000s — particularly for teenagers. And Nolan hasn’t achieved a level of success rivaled by only Hitchcock and Spielberg for no reason. Whether people are aware of it or not, he articulates and explores the post-modern world, its connections and intangibilities anxieties. Fincher similarly did this with Fight Club and Zodiac.
            Always great to chat with you as well!

  4. Scott says:

    I do agree Nolan is ambitious, so much so that he does not even hire a 2nd unit when filming. I am more of a fan of his earlier smaller pictures such as “The Prestige” or “Memento”. I don’t see a visual style in Nolan rather but a writer director in detail which to me can be sometimes overblown or bloated. Not a knock on Nolan, but more or less a preference. Funny you should mention Zodiac cause that is a perfect example of a detailed movie because of it’s subject matter. That plays off to me as more of a documentary and to be honest I can never get thru that film. I have warmed up to Fight Club however. I like Se7en and The Game most. Did not care for Gone Girl, Fincher is hit or miss for me.
    Linklater is a fantastic storyteller, and he’s made many great films already. I like Alexander Payne too in that regard.
    Altman is a different kind of filmmaker, in what we call experimental. Everything thru act of collaboration especially with actors thru improvisation and spontaneity. But you’re right, he had a style that was loose and consistent in the 70s with sprawling actor epics. Huge influence on PTA. I read a film study where they class 2 different kinds of filmmakers, one is conceptual and the other is experimental. There are a few in between these areas. I am a bigger fan of the conceptual kind as they tend to show each one of their films to be specifically unique to them, for example Hitchcock,Kubrick,Wes Anderson,Scorsese, Spielberg. Orson Welles is a perfect example of a conceptual filmmaker who was in the wrong era of the controlling Hollywood studio system that hurt his career and left him for broke..
    I began getting into film in the mid-late 80s(at 13 years of age) as a result of my brother’s obsession with Hitchcock. And my grandfather’s love of John Ford, and Howard Hawks. Those 3 were the first I studied when starting out as the triumvirate of Hollywood filmmakers of the golden era, the late critic Andrew Sarris championed them as the top 3 auteurs of their generation with an oeuvre unrivaled by any at the time. Welles is usually listed as a 4th. Hitchcock and Hawks are my favorite of that era.
    Then I ventured into the 70’s movie brat generation, particularly Scorsese and Spielberg. I got into Kubrick later. And for the newer filmmakers, Wes Anderson brings me back to the earlier era of filmmaking to a large degree. I like PTA quite a bit, Coens more miss than hit for me but I do love a few of their films, hate some too, Coens are like that for me, I either love it or hate it. ha. Same thing with Tarantino, love Reservoir Dogs thru Jackie Brown, after that it’s all downhill save for Inglorious Basterds. How did you feel about The Hateful Eight? I hated that film to be honest, a little too much Samuel L Jackson love and Tarantino’s obsession with violence and limited dialogue(if ya know what I mean) lately do nothing for me. Just my opinion of course. I quite like Roman Polanski too. Denis Villeneuve is one to watch out for too.
    And I haven’t delved into the mind of Lynch yet, but will fix that soon.

    • andyzach says:

      Nolan, to me, is what Ridley Scott never ended up being after Blade Runner. He’s a descendant of Mann in his formalism and his love for Malick has made his films since The Prestige take on an impressionistic quality. Love the Movie brats (what a great name). I must pick Spielberg as my overall favorite but Coppola’s four 70 films are each stone cold masterpieces. Apocalypse Now (1979) is the final crown on 70’s filmmaking, and after it, Hollywood would never consciously make a film like it. I also love love love Hitchcock. Need to see more of Welles. I find it fascinating that Hitch was not well regarded among critics of the time.
      As for the Coen bros, I adore them. I think they’ve got a filmography that could stand up to almost anybody, but I recognize they’re not for everybody. Similarly, I love Tarantino and recognize his 21st Century output is a bit more niche than his 90’s work. The Hateful Eight was my 3rd favorite film of 2015. I loved its ominous tone and the mix of Agatha Christie with EVIL DEAD. I also think it’s a film quite literally about violence and how the audience reacts to it. I have a link to a video analyzing this, if you care.
      I love Polanski’s 60s and 70s work. Cannot wait for you to see some Lynch, but be warned, he’s not for everybody and can drive you crazy if you’re not sure how to digest his films. My advice: let it wash over you. His work is full of symbols and recurring motifs but he’s so obsessed with atmosphere that if you just try to feel it, you’ll understand it.

      • Scott says:

        That’s a very good point in regards to the Nolan-Ridley comparison. Ridley really took a nosedive after Blade Runner didn’t he? Basically to the point of being unrecognizable, not sure what happened there. I’ve liked a few films after Blade Runner but just liked and very few at that.

        I do like Nolan and I do agree as I see the impressionistic quality aka Malick. in his body of work, The Prestige being a perfect example as you mentioned. And I also agree that Nolan is a descendant of Mann, case in point the huge influence of Heat on The Dark Knight. Nolan mentions this many times in past interviews. I do remember Nolan mentioning his love for Malick as well. Malick with the heavy dialogue if you will. I’m still in discovery mode on Nolan and although he is not one of my favorites, that could change down the road. I am looking forward to his next film Dunkirk due out in a couple of months.

        Ahh yes Coppola, another Welles in outcome. Kind of tragic in the world of film, however Coppola has recovered nicely in the financial arena from the good ole grapes. Exactly on Apocalypse Now, the biggest, chaotic, most dramatic production ever filmed both behind the scenes and in front. It sure paid off in the long run as I feel it’s one of the greatest films ever made. And yes another one could never be made, it broke the bank for Coppola as he was forced to take out loans. His next feature really did him in though and unfortunately never recovered. He made an unwise choice of going for an art film when he was desperate for cash. I think Apocalypse Now is his signature film. As much as I love The Godfather, I look at that as a big production studio film much like Gone With The Wind, Coppola was not even interested in making The Godfather at first. The Conversation is overrated for me and the latest studies on that show much of the credit going to Walter Murch. I much prefer De Palma’s Blow Out in comparison.

        I love Spielberg too and I like several of his post-2000 films such as Munich, Catch Me If You Can, and loved Bridge of Spies. Hitch is my favorite director overall, he is that IT factor of directors. There is an article on Hitch that is titled 8 reasons why Hitch is the definition of a film director. The bridge between art and entertainment. Yes it’s mind boggling to think that he was not well received, kind of like how Led Zeppelin was not well received at the time. Hawks suffered the same problem. We can thank the French for that one, who labeled the Hitchcocko-Hawksians alerting the states to become aware of the artists that they were, not just mere entertainers. Funny how that works.

        Right the Coens are an acquired taste but I always respect the opinion of others, they are certainly talented. I do love a few of their films. As for Tarantino, we are on opposite sides of the fence but I do agree that his latest work is a true reflection of himself and his indulgences. I would love to check out your video on The Hateful Eight, I am always open to others opinions and perspectives. I find it fascinating to try and see things from another viewpoint or angle. The Hateful Eight presented itself like a stage play. I actually did enjoy the 1st two-thirds of the picture until Samuel L Jackson ruined it for me. But perhaps another view would change my opinion.
        Polanski was great early on and then he fell apart going into the 80’s, talk about another tragic situation because I believe his talent wasn’t fully realized due to his personal trauma. The Pianist is excellent though if you haven’t seen it.
        As for Lynch, from what I have gathered so far is that many of his films are like a spin off of Vertigo, one of his favorite films. Is this a fairly accurate description? Or how about Inception minus the action? Complete explorations of the mind and fantasy versus reality? It sure sounds like Vertigo in similarity in how you describe him. Films that reward with repeated viewings to understand the symbolism present and so forth. Kubrick is like that in a way with several of his films but once you get it, it’s that much more rewarding than simple entertainment.

        Speaking of Malick, what is your take on him? I liked his 1st 3 films the best. Tree of Life can give Apocalypse Now a run for it’s money. Love Days of Heaven. He has a very poetic nature to him, but he has become too obscure for his own good in his last few films. Lack of narrative sense is the problem for me as of late.

        Do you prefer Nolan over PTA or vice versa?

        • andyzach says:

          I saw the first 5 minutes of Dunkirk before Rogue One this past December, and it was stunning. Incredibly intense. In 70MM Imax it felt so real and transportive. You’ll be happy to know that it feels very Hitchcockian in its build up of suspense. The film’s production title, Bodega Bay, was even named after the town in The Birds.
          Totally agree on Coppola. Apoc Now is truly HIS film, whereas The Godfather and Conversation, great as they are, are more in the mold of old Hollywood. I gotta say that I do admire his 80’s films. I really like Rumble Fish, The Outsiders, and Peggy Sue Got Married. In regards to The Conversation, I do think Antonioni’s Blow Up is just as good and De Palma’s Blow Out is better than both. I said that Spielberg is my fave movie brat, but De Palma is pretty darn close.
          I really need to sit down and watch every single Hitchcock movie. Part of me would’ve loved to have seen what he could’ve done if he was in his prime during the 70s. I think that occasionally, along with many other old Hollywood films, that his work would’ve benefited from more explicit violence. Although Hitchcock side stepped the censor issue by making the build up the important part, so it’s not a problem really. I do find his romances better than his thrillers though. Maybe that’s why.

          Here’s that Hateful Eight video The Hateful Eight: An Analysis of Violence

          Lynch films are lot like Vertigo in their dreamy nature. And many of them go to places that are very obviously not reality, but the key is that they always feel real and are always sincere. David Foster Wallace once compared Tarantino and Lynch in the early 90s. Although I don’t agree with his negative take on Tarantino, I agree with the point of what he’s saying here: “unlike Tarantino, D. Lynch knows that an act of violence in an American film has, through repetition and desensitization, lost the ability to refer to anything but itself. A better way to put what I just tried to say: Quentin Tarantino is interested in watching somebody’s ear getting cut off; David Lynch is interested in the ear.”
          That is Lynch. He views and explores things from an angle that feels so alien but also completely familiar and 100% American. Blue Velvet is the greatest summation of him, although I might say Mulholland Drive is his greatest film.
          Totally agree on Malick. Badlands is a stone cold masterpiece, and Days of Heaven is one of my top 10 favorite films. Love The Thin Red Line, but The Tree of Life is even better, and there’s sections in it that are as great as his first two films. His last 3 are, I agree, not satisfying, but they’re also very clearly something he needed to get out of his system. He’s just filmed Radegund, a WW2 era film that’s supposedly more narrative driven. Perhaps that will be a return for him.
          As for PTA vs. Nolan, that’s tough to answer. They’re not dissimilar from Spielberg vs. Scorsese in the 70s and 80s. I suppose I’d say what Nolan is after, what he explores, and how he explores it, is what I’m personally interested in. He gives me everything I want in a movie – similar to Hitchcock and early Spielberg. But I think PTA is the greatest filmmaker alive. I love Boogie Nights – it’s a classic – but the leap he took when he made There Will Be Blood was gigantic. I am probably one of the biggest Inherent Vice fans on the planet. I’ve strongly considered putting it in my top 10.
          So, a summer Nolan movie and a winter PTA movie have me sooooooooo excited.

  5. Scott says:

    Hey Andy, sorry for the late reply. I’ve been sick with the flu down and out of commission. ha. And if that weren’t enough, i topped it off with a severe headache like a migraine. Still in recovery but on the mend. I’m still gonna check out your video on Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. I did see the latest trailer on Dunkirk and very impressed. Looks awesome and I’m very excited to see that in the next couple of months. There is still a drive inn movie theater in the area of where i live and that would be perfect for the summer event to see Dunkirk.
    I noticed a couple of mistakes I made in my previous post above. I meant The Thin Red Line could give Apocalypse Now a run for it’s money. Not The Tree of Life, it’s ok not a huge fan, I much prefer 2001.
    I am a huge Kubrick fan, one of my top film directors like Hitchcock. I love all of his films, even Killer’s Kiss. Only exception is his first film which i haven’t seen. Also meant to say Walter Murch who is the editor of The Conversation and is given so much credit for the film since Coppola left early on to film The Godfather 2.
    I like PTA but I prefer Scorsese for example, Boogie Nights versus Goodfellas. While I like Boogie Nights, I think Goodfellas is much better. Goodfellas is one of my all time favorite films though so that’s a high bar to top for me. I like Pulp Fiction over Boogie Nights as well. I like later PTA starting with Punch Drunk Love, an original film of his that i think is just brilliant. Just saw There Will Be Blood again last night and yes what a masterpiece of filmmaking indeed. I am also a big fan of The Master and Inherent Vice, those films have me thinking back to my past, very nostalgic and poetic.
    I know what you mean about Nolan, giving you everything you want in a move similar to Hitchcock and Spielberg. That is a perfect statement, the overall feel and a little of everything which includes plot that a lot of filmmakers leave out such as PTA. PTA and Scorsese focus more on character study.
    Speaking of Inherent Vice, that film is a take on Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep. Have you had a chance to check that out yet? How about Red River which may be my favorite western of all time? Hawks is my other favorite classic cinema director along with Hitchcock in that era who also side stepped the censor issue. The Big Sleep and Scarface being good examples..His films are so fresh even today and stand the test of time. Give him a chance if you haven’t already, you may be pleasantly surprised.
    Very interesting take you have on Lynch, will be looking forward to checking his films out.
    Anyway I’m gonna check out that video soon, thanks again for sharing.

    • andyzach says:

      Drive in theaters are fantastic. Haven’t been to one in a while tho. I love The Thin Red Line as well; It’s a top 5 war film. Yes, I’ve heard that Murch had a lot to do with The Conversation, but I still think it’s one of the 70’s best films. I also prefer Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction over Boogie Nights although I’d still rank Boogie Nights in my favorites, just not as high. PTA really comes into his own with PDL as you say, and then he climbs into the cinematic heavens with his next three films.
      Yes, I’ve seen The Big Sleep and I think it may very well be the greatest noir film. There’s sooooo much plot that it almost doesn’t even have a plot! I need to watch the rest of his films. I adore Rio Bravo and His Girl Friday.

  6. Scott says:

    Yes Drive in theaters are awesome, always a summer favorite. Wish there were more of them but property became too valuable. An Americana favorite fading just like so many good things in past years it seems. Have you watched Red River yet? I rewatched The Hateful Eight and I liked it a lot better the second time. Some movies are like that. It’s funny how another viewing can fundamentally change one’s opinions. I realize the scene I had a big problem with didn’t bother me as much the second time around and realize there was so much good tension after that. I checked out the video, pretty interesting. Looks like David Lynch recently stated he is not returning to film. Hope he has a change of heart for Lynch fans. Did you watch his latest Twin Peaks series? And yes The Big Sleep is endlessly rewatchable, there is a pre-release version that is quite a bit different where the plot is laid out in more detail. Interesting takes.

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