Falters every now and then and has a bit of a shaky start but it just gets more and more compelling as the film continues. Some truly different directing work here and once again I'm torn over Schoonmaker's editing.
I think this is a movie that would be interesting through the lenses of many other filmmakers. Apparently, the author of the original novel was someone who struggled with his Catholic faith, the same as Scorsese- though perhaps in a different manner. So other interpretations would be cool. The book's been on my reading list for a while, I definitely want to give it a go and see if and how Scorsese diverges from it (I hear it's pretty darn faithful though).
Leading into SEMI-SPOILERS:
Regardless, we still got a film that is complex in its approach to its faith. By the end, it offers some form of conclusion that may or may not affirm /validate the suffering of the protagonists but it doesn't entirely seem like a simple (or easily earned) conclusion.
While the idea of the 'silence of god' is crucial, I was really interested in the ideas of the context of religion- talks about the swamps and roots. In the absence of proper religious instruction, a faith evolves and changes, absorbing qualities of local traditions and ultimately a misunderstanding of the faith itself and its principles. It was great how the confusion over reinterpreting faith and doing the right thing according to your beliefs seemed very human and very real. Scorsese (once again) manages to moralise in a non-preachy way. No black or white, no easy answers.
I don't know how I feel about the inquisitor being so "goofily" played. Maybe this type of behavior is part of that culture that I don't understand as an American.
I'm kinda glad he was. The film was very serious and he provided something that was amusing and yet unsettling. There's an air of politeness and intellectual respect mingling with sinisterness, brutality and injustice from the antagonistic forces in the film.
Unrelated- there's a shot where the Inquisitor looks like he's physically deflating and shrinking. I was so surprised by it that I was half-expecting something hallucinatory or supernatural to happen.