Silence or A Monster Calls – which will you choose?

Two brilliant films tipped for Oscars are showing at Vue from 1st January. Below, two critics make the case for their favourite.

Stefan Pape: Silence will make you think.

To describe a film as being torturous could seem somewhat off-putting. But what if that same film was rewarding, provocative and powerful? Oh, and what if it was directed by Martin Scorsese? That's why you should choose Silence.

Set in the seventeenth century, the master storyteller presents an intimate tale about faith told primarily through the eyes of a Jesuit priest played by Andrew Garfield. Together with Adam Driver, he journeys to Japan to locate their mentor, Liam Neeson, who’s said to have abandoned his faith and commitment to the Church.
Scorsese's Silence will make you think.
Featuring a remarkable lead turn by Garfield, whose subtle performance comes complete with a striking head of hair, Silence is a gloriously muted, slow-burning endeavour that demands a big screen viewing – because the cinematography is breathtaking. It's far from an easy watch, granted, but it's a beautiful, alluring production that will make you think – and isn't that what films are all about?

If you’re a fan of this art-form, you owe it to yourself to give this film a go. But just remember to go to the loo beforehand, because Silence is not far off three hours long. But boy is it worth your while.

Rhianna Dhillon: A Monster Calls is a gorgeous fantasy.

Rarely has there been such a creative and unique film with such universal appeal to kickstart the year. Adapted from the novel by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls is about a boy who copes with the fact that his mother is dying with the help of a monstrous tree who tells him stories about the unpredictability of human nature. It captures love and grief from the raw perspective of a child as watercolours and sketches are beautifully brought to life on the big screen.
Silence or A Monster Calls ??? which will you choose?
Much of the magic of the film lies with The Monster, voiced by Liam Neeson in one of his best roles to date. His gravelly tone lends itself perfectly to the intimidating anti-hero who’s both terrifying and strangely trustworthy. Connor’s mother could easily have been a passive role but Felicity Jones (Rogue One) exudes such quiet determination and passion that she’s impossible to forget. But it’s 14 year old MacDougall who impresses the most, giving a staggeringly mature performance as the young Connor, a watchful outsider with a ferocity bubbling under his skin.

This is a gorgeous fantasy that’s rich with emotion and imagination. It’s a cathartic and rousing start to the New Year. But make sure you go armed with plenty of tissues.