Silence

"Excellent"

Silence Review


Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kindun (1997). And now he has adapted the Shusaku Endo novel into this profound exploration of religion. As seen through the eyes of a 17th century Jesuit priest in Japan, it's a dark, contemplative film that sometimes feels a bit too murky for its own good. But it also has bracing insight into our need to believe.

At the centre of the story is the disappearance of Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) as Japan cracks down on foreign religions in 1640, brutally persecuting local converts. Back in Portugal, two of Ferreira's proteges, Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garrpe (Adam Driver), volunteer to go in search of him. But the journey is dangerous, requiring them to trust exiled Japanese drunk Kichijiro (Yosuke Kubozuka) to sneak them into a rural village near Nagasaki. There they find an underground group of devout Catholics who are hiding from the cruel Inquisitor Inoue (Issei Ogata). After they split up to search for Ferreira, Rodrigues is captured by Inoue and interrogated by his interpreter (Tadanobu Asano), who is determined to show him that Christianity can never take root in Japan.

The film has an eerie resonance in today's divisive global climate, where everyone seems determined to protect their own culture from any outside influence, especially a religion that seems to run counter to long-held traditions. But the film's deeper themes explore the idea that we all have a yearning to understand the world and our existence in a way that makes sense to us. So debating the relative benefits of Christianity and Buddhism is actually beside the point. When the movie lets these ideas simmer under the surface, it has real power, especially in Rodrigues' experiences, which are gruelling both physically and emotionally.

This layered approach gives Garfield and Driver plenty to work with as actors, and both are transparent and provocative. Garfield has a particularly demanding role, and his interaction with the terrific Ogata and Asano is sparky and fascinating. By comparison, scenes with Neeson's haunted ex-priest seem a bit wispy, and they also tend to be somewhat pushy regarding Catholicism. But Scorsese is a terrific craftsman, and the film looks utterly gorgeous; it's finely designed, shot and edited to pull the audience into the period and the culture as well as the inner lives of the characters. And when it touches on the idea that faith is actually much larger than religion, the film becomes important as well.

Watch the trailer for Silence:



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 1st January 2017

Budget: $51M

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Father Sebastião Rodrigues, as Father Francisco Garrpe, as Father Cristóvão Ferreira, as Interpreter, as Father Valignano, as Mokichi, Yôsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro, as Inquisitor Inoue, Nana Komatsu as Christian Villager, as Christian Villager, Michié as Tomogi Wife, as Ichizo, Yoshi Oida as Edo Guard, Motokatsu Suzuki as Doshin, as Buddhist Priest, Katsuo Nakamura as Carpenter

Contactmusic


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