Scorsese’s Editor On “Silence” Reaction

Martin Scorsese spent two decades trying to get his adaptation of “Silence” made. The resulting film late last year scored excellent notices with critics, but Oscar voters and audiences ignored it with the project ultimately earning just over $7 million worldwide from a $50 million budget.

Part of the problem is the obvious – it’s an unrelentingly grim and dark 2.5 hour film about a not particularly sympathetic character and his philosophical and theological battle with his faith in the face of immense cruelty. It’s questioning of religion turned off faith-based audiences, while the subject matter wasn’t all that appealing to secular audiences.

Yet it’s obvious the film has some strong supporters – especially for some of the superb craft on display and for Scorsese eschewing his mainstream appealing style in favor of more challenging artistic fare of which he hasn’t done in years.

Speaking with Crave Online, Scorsese’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker says that the director is still keen on tackling religious subject matter in future films:

“He wants to make more films like this, that are spiritual, basically, but not set in 17th century Japan [laugh]. In the modern time. So hopefully we’ll be able to make that.

Not the next one, the next one is ‘The Irishman,’ which is De Niro and Joe Pesci and elderly gangsters. So that’ll be very different from ‘Silence.’ But maybe the one after that.”

She also spoke about the soft box-office and firmly believes it’s a film of Scorsese’s that people will properly discover at a later date:

“It’s daring and it’s difficult to make a movie like this because maybe people don’t understand, and don’t go see it because of that. They worry. ‘Oh dear, what is this? Am I going to be lectured?’ They don’t understand that [‘Silence’] is not like that. It was a real serious challenge.

I wish it had done better. I think the movie will last and be very important to people. Which is all one can ask. So many fantastic movies, so many fantastic reactions from people. But if you’re going out with your family on Saturday night, you’re not going to go to this movie [laugh].

The reviews were… I’ve never read reviews like this. They’re just ecstatic sometimes, which is fantastic. All kinds of people, which is all you can hope for with this.”

The comments come as “Silence” has now been made available on Digital HD, VOD, DVD and Blu-ray.