Moments of Revelation in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ and ‘Shutter Island’

More thoughts on Martin Scorsese for Vague Visages.

Vague Visages


Assessed on its own terms, Martin Scorsese’s Silence is a daunting piece. Released after about 25 years of staggered development, it might reasonably be considered the most “definitive” title in its director’s oeuvre. That is, seeing as it incorporates so many of the auteur’s career-long questions regarding Christianity, violence and self, the film plays like a cumulative statement. Indeed, it’s worth contextualizing its lofty philosophical and formal concepts alongside previous Scorsese films. There are a number of ways to approach this strategy. In “Holy Men, Holy Losers: Scorsese, Silence and the Mystery of Faith,” Bilge Ebiri has already written insightfully on the movie’s connections to its auteur’s most openly faith-based works, The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997); additionally, Scorsese himself has alluded in interviews to its connections with Bringing Out the Dead (1999). These points of reference are key, and it is also worth reflecting on Silence both…

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