Into Great Silence (Gröning, 2005)
Into Great Silence was quite the film. When I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought it looked fascinating. Then, I heard it was a near 3-hour film about monks and almost entirely silent. Needless to say, I felt reserved. Even as a spiritual person, I didn’t know if I could find myself captivated for that long with that type of a movie. I was wrong. The near 3-hour run time felt more like an average 2-hour film, even with its slow pace and silence. This film was beautiful in two different ways. First of all, many of the shots were fantastic. Gröning used natural lighting and found ways to capture many darkly lit scenes in ways that were incredible. Also, his edited shot selection was great. The biggest visual downfall were the many grainy shots. I was disappointed with those and found myself wishing the entire film was shot with a clear lens. Regardless, that was not enough keep me from enjoying this film.
The second beautiful aspect of this film was its spirituality. Knowing that these men have willingly chosen this path for their lives and seeing their passion (although in a very relaxed and focused way) unfold on-screen was powerful. It’s a life I know I could never lead, but I have respect for those who can. The film also takes time to focus on the everyday lives of these monks. We see them in their daily chores, and even an afternoon sledding! I can not honestly recommend this movie to everyone. I think it will take a certain kind of film fan to enjoy this movie. Keep in mind that it’s a slow-paced, very quiet film before seeing it. But also note that the visuals and spiritual aspects are well worth watching. 9.25/10