Martin Scorsese returns to cinemas with Silence, a passion project that’s been in development for over 25 years. This epic historical drama is based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō follows two 17th century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Japan in order to locate their missing mentor and spread the word of God. A film about those who have questioned their faith from time to time and those who would sacrifice their lives in the name of it. A powerful movie that is anything but silent.
Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has been spreading the word of God under threats of his life in Japan when his communication runs silent. His two pupils Father Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) set out to Japan to dispel the notion that Father Ferreira committed apostasy and learn of his fate. On their travels they meet Kichijiro (Yosuke Kubozuka), an alcoholic fisherman who has fled Japan and now begs to return. Kichijiro agrees to become their guide and help them find sanctuary in the hostile land while they learn of the location of their mentor. The priests arrive to Japan to learn that the local Christian population has been driven into hiding for fear of their lives.
Seeing that their influence is needed, Fathers Rodrigues and Garupe begin helping the natives reclaim their faith in the Lord until the inquisitor arrives at the village and demands information about any suspected Christians. Seeing first hand the brutality that the countrymen face for their faith, The two priests split up in hopes to find Father Ferreira, but they face the harsh conditions of living in secret which leads Rodrigues into imprisonment. While under the guard of the Samurai, he is expected to denounce his faith and set an example for those imprisoned for believing in Christianity that they must also denounce God. Rodrigues begins to question the motives of God for the suffering of the Japanese people. Soon, it is his own faith that will be tested and his will to do what’s right over what he believes the Lord would want.
Silence is a tale of choice, of sacrifice and of self preservation. It’s a film deeply woven into the history of Catholicism that highlights the trials and tribulations that these priests and their followers endured. Martin Scorsese’s brilliant storytelling delicately parallels the suffering of the Jesuit priests and those of the apostles of Christs time and delves into the psyche of the faithful and those questioning theirs. Andrew Garfield is brilliant as Fathers Rodrigues and brings an intense, emotional performance to the film that truly encapsulates the emotional journey the young priest endures. Adam Driver is a wonderful supporting performance and creates a moral reference point for which all other characters in the film can be judged. Yosuke Kubozuka’s character is a brilliant representation of humanity and it’s struggle with faith. Kubozuka is chilling and delivers a truly thought provoking performance. Liam Neeson‘s presence is otherworldly and commands the screen when he’s present. The actor says more in his expression and delivers some astonishingly personal dialogue that capture the true essence of the situation they are all facing.
Overall, Silence is a treasure. It’s a film that will leave you deep in thought and questioning the strength of your own faith. Scorsese does it again.
4 out of 5
After Credit Scene?