Put aside its Oscar chances, and let’s forget about how it will impact the awards season race or not — simply the arrival of Martin Scorsese‘s “Silence” this fall is a major cinematic event. A passion project that the director has been shepherding along for years, whether or not it would be released at all in 2016 seemed up in the air until Paramount Pictures locked down a date last month. However, it looks like it won’t quite be the epic three hour sprawl that was rumored a couple months back.
According to producer Irwin Winkler (who also says that “Silence” is “Marty’s best movie”), the film now runs 2 hours and 39 minutes. Indeed, the film has gradually been getting more trim, with Deadline revealing as recently as a few weeks ago that the movie was running slightly over three hours, and star Andrew Garfield saw a cut that was 2 hours and 50 minutes. Whether or not Scorsese will be further cutting the movie remains to be seen, and while some fans might leap to a conclusion that the director’s movie is getting ruined somehow, let’s just wait until we actually see the final version. And let’s also be clear — a running time has little bearing on craft, and sometimes a great story is better told in two hours than four.
Based on Shüsaku Endō’s novel, and also starring Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver, the drama is set in the 17th century and follows a pair of Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and spread the gospel of Christianity. You’ll see for yourself what Scorsese has put together when “Silence” opens on December 23rd in limited release, before going wide in January.