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There's nothing to reveal in Silence.
Torturing Christians while lecturing them on their religion and misguided actions is all Silence adds up to. Unfortunately this is not a surprise from Hollywood but it is disappointing to see Scorsese be so attracted to such a lopsided story.
Two Portuguese priests travel to a 17th century Japan, where Christianity is outlawed, to find another priest there who is missing and might have recanted his faith. The script focuses on Padre Rodrigues.
Everything profound is saved for his Japanese captors while he is left with little to say in reply other than that which could be written by any layman amateur author. It's embarrassing. It's just a relentless verbal beating of this padre and his inability to effectively refute anything. From the opening scenes I knew this would happen. They were doomed from the start to never make a point. I wish I was wrong. It would have been a better movie if I had been.
The poor abused peasants are seen as ignorant and naive while their brutal overlords are wise, with their best interests at heart(despite the frequent murder, execution, and torture...). Never is the motive of the government questioned, at least verbally. It's hard to think of a less challenging and dynamic story recently, and that's saying something. I suppose I could forgivingly recognize the unanswered faith of the Christians as the tragedy of the message, but honestly, I think the philosophical lashing the authorities heap on Rodriguez is what the writer really wants to get across.
Visually there's not much to offer except competence which would otherwise be good enough save for the predictable but disappointing script.
Completely unnecessary narration pops up from time to time usually telling us what we can already see on screen. Ironic for a movie called "Silence" to feel the need to spoon feed the audience with redundant exposition that really adds very little to the movie other than interruption.
While the two priests don't offer much to the viewer, and the Japanese authority plays the same pious note, unchallenged, throughout(save for some ineffectual token rebuttal), there is one intriguing character by the name of Kichijiro, played wonderfully by Yosuke Kubozuka. Friend of the priests, he is a Japanese Christian, but a coward, endlessly failing spiritual tests and begging forgiveness afterwards, all the while keeping faith, even till the end. Hands down he stole the show, leaving me with at least one character to enjoy.
I understand the author of the the book, from which this movie is based, intended to depict the futility and ignorance of Christian missionary work in Japan, and apparently Scorsese was fascinated by this too. But all we get is a message and plot that never challenges itself and does nothing but relentlessly handicaps one side. This movie is like watching a tennis match with player A playing and player B standing there doing nothing. It simply doesn't make for a good story. I wish Martin Scorsese, and Hollywood in general would, rather beat down player B, take a chance on an actual game.