It’s lining up to be a quite busy last few weeks as far as 2016’s year in movies, and no other movie matters more (to me) than Martin Scorsese‘s Silence. Sure, sure, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is on the way, and Pablo Larrain‘s Jackie already looks like another masterwork from one of the best filmmakers currently on the scene. Still, the new Martin Scorsese movie always takes precedence. Even if P.T. Anderson, Wes Anderson, Terrence Malick, and a resurrected Howard Hawks all were putting out new movies in December, the new Martin Scorsese always takes precedence.
So, when it was whispered about earlier this year that Scorsese’s first cut was north of three hours, I didn’t blink. If anything, my heart swelled with joy. The idea of a 10-hour Scorsese movie makes me cackle with sublime delight, so a movie that’s a little south of Steven Soderbergh‘s Che doesn’t bother me, but it’s going to annoy a lot of other people. So, when Deadline broke the news today that the film had been sliced down to 159 minutes flat, that sounded like a decent compromise for both sides.
Keep in mind, an Oscar nominee is almost always 110 minutes or more, and Silence, a long-gestating passion project of Scorsese’s, is beings set up as an Oscar heavyweight alongside Moonlight, Nocturnal Animals, Manchester by the Sea, and Jackie. And Silence‘s producer Irwin Winkler told Deadline that, amongst other things, he thinks Silence is Scorsese’s best work to date. It’s hard for me to concisely explain to you exactly how large a statement that is. This is the guy who made GoodFellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver, Bringing Out the Dead, and The Wolf of Wall Street, amongst a handful of other masterworks. My instinct is to see this as a producer advocating for his movie but it’s not like this doesn’t affect my anticipation of Silence and my impatience to see the movie. The film’s limited release date, December 23rd, cannot get here fast enough.