Matin Scorsese returns to the big screen with a story about two priests who travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor and propagate Catholicism. The film Stars Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as well as performances by Liam Neeson and Issei Ogata.
Silence is adapted from a book of the same name written by Shusaku Endo and is definitely a slow burn. At 161 minutes it is one of the longest films that I have seen at the cinema but it doesn’t drag, instead the performances hold your attention even when whats on the screen makes you want to look away.
Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) are on a mission to find Ferreira (Liam Neeson) who we see in the opening of the film. Their mission takes them to Japan during a period when Catholicism was outlawed and their presence forbidden. Right from the start we see signs of this and it is not long before they face the ultimate test of faith.
Martin Scorsese’s film opens and closes to the sounds of nature, which is heralded as a fundamental part of Japanese culture. In fact sound and the lack thereof is an important tool employed by this film to convey meaning and emotion. Silence, sounds of anguish and sounds of nature are all used to test their faith and to invite discussion.
Rodrigues and Garupe are guided on the journey by Kichijiro (Yosuke Kubozuka). Kichijiro guides them to villages of secretly devout Christians. However while their presence is an inspiration, it is also a danger as it is not long before the Samurai learn of their arrival and show just how they plan to rid the country Christianity.
Issei Ogata plays the lead Inquisitor of the Samurai that attempt to rid the area of Catholic artefacts and priests. The Japanese opposition to Christianity could have just been that, an opposition but the dialogue between Issei and Andrew made for an engaging discussion. I just wish that we could have seen more scenes between these two characters.
Ferreira pops up again towards the end of the movie in attempt to convince Rodrigues to renounce his faith. Their scenes together worked well and helped the audience understand the characters motivations and more about the period in which the film was set. However I felt that while the film was often ambiguous, its final message was anything but.
The combination of incredible performances, beautiful cinematography from Rodrigo Prieto and amazing sound work makes this film one to look out for. Its subject matter may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is certainly an experience that you don’t want to miss.