The story of two Catholic missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) - at a time when Catholicism was outlawed and their presence forbidden.
Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver spent a week at St. Buenos, a Jesuit retreat in St. Asaph, near Prestatyn, Wales. They didn't speak for a week, per the retreat rules, so they could get a feel for the spirituality needed for the roles. See more »
None of the characters say their names with the correct Portuguese accent. See more »
1633. Pax Christi. Praised be God. Although for us there is little peace in this land now. I never knew Japan when it was a country of light, but I have never known it to be as dark as it is now. All our progress has ended in new persecution, new repression, new suffering. They use ladles filled with holes so the drops would come out slowly, and the pain would be prolonged. Each small splash of the water was like a burning coal. The Governor of Nagasaki took four friars,...
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For the Japanese Christians and their pastors Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam See more »
Priests Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) travel to the dangerous Japan where they are looking for their mentor Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) who is said to have turned his back on God. Ferreira was there to teach the Japanese people Christianity but soon members of Japan began killing the missionaries as well as their own people. Before long Rodrigues is questioning his faith and what power it might really have.
Martin Scorsese had been trying to get Shusaku Endo's novel made for well over twenty-years when he finally got the greenlight. Some reports stated that the directed refused to make another picture until his dream project came to be and in 2016 it was finally released. It was released to mostly positive reviews but it quickly became clear that it was a box office dud and it even managed to get shut out at Oscar time, which is something very few Scorsese movies could actually say. What's sad is that so many religious movies take the subject on without being overly serious or asking any questions and they become hits. This one here asks some really challenging questions and no one is there.
I'm not going to call SILENCE a masterpiece because I found there to be some flaws in the picture but there's no question that the direction, acting and all technical aspects are terrific. I will talk about the major flaw I had with the picture and it's during the first ninety-minutes. I honestly thought twenty of these minutes could have been edited out because I thought it took the film way too long to move forward and get to the real meat of the story, which is the Priest and Father Ferreira having a battle of wills. The film is about one questioning their own faith in brutal conditions and the final hour is where the film really sours and I can't help but think it would have been better had we gotten here a tad bit further.
With that said, there's still an extremely deep look at faith going on here and I really loved the fact that it didn't treat the subject lightly or take on that mentality that you can't question your faith. The screenplay by Scorsese an Jay Cocks really digs into both of the Priests and their view on the horrors that they are witnessing people going through in the name of Christ. I thought the film had some deeply touching moments where people must question their faith, stay true to what they believe in even when they know their lives will be taken. There are some really powerful moments scattered throughout the film and the fact that Scorsese decided not to use a music score adds to the power.
Then there are the performances, which are wonderful. Both Driver and Neeson are extremely good but so are the various supporting players. Yosuke Kubozuka and Shin'ya Tsukamoto are excellent in each scene that they're in. Then you've got Garfield who really shocked me here. This is a rather quiet role where the actor has several scenes where he's just by himself, thinking to himself and to me this is where Garfield really shined. The quiet nature to the performance means that the actor had to use his emotions and eyes and I thought he did a remarkable job.
SILENCE isn't a film that's going to appeal to a lot of people and I'm sure some will find the subject and its questioning faith to be something they won't want to sit through, which is a real shame. It's certainly a film that will take multiple viewings to do it justice but it's a unique film.
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