Friday, December 23, 2016


Director Martin Scorsese's passion project finally arrives 28 years after he first made the decision to film the Japanese novel.
It is a remarkable achievement in many ways, that further explores religious themes existing in many of his films.

"Silence" is the story of two 17th century Jesuit priests that leave Portugal in search of a lost priest in Japan. It is an almost three hour harsh look at the brutal way the Buddhist Japanese treated the Christian priests and Japanese converts. In a bit of odd casting the Portuguese priests are played by Liam Neeson  (the missing priest seen early in the film), Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. After the two priests are separated, the weight of the film is placed squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Garfield, who grows into his role as the film progresses. 

The persecution of the Christian Japanese and the mission priests who seek to convert and teach them the Holy Bible lies at the center of the film. The Buddhist "inquisitor" and his men seek out the Christians and force them to renounce Jesus under threat of torture and death. Mr. Garfield's  Father Rodrigues's faith is constantly tested throughout, even as he too, is forced to renounce Jesus.

The film achieves  greatness in it's storytelling. Mr. Scorsese's direction is nearly flawless ( he never spends much needed time in editing rooms), the cinematography is gorgeous and Taiwan, as the principal location is breathtaking. The Japanese cast is terrific, especially Issey Ogata as the "Inquisitor" and Shinya Tsukamotoas Mokichi, an important reoccurring character.

With probable little appeal to today's wide audience, "Silence" will still be a critic's darling garnering major praise and multiple nominations in award season. It is an experience that transports one to another world and time that requires a commitment and faith on the part of the viewer.

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