Directed by Martin Scorsese
Based on the breathtaking novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence is based on a true time period when Christianity was outlawed in Japan and how the Japanese tortured and executed any known Christians. We focus, however, on two Portuguese Jesuit priests who are on a mission to find their mentor, Father Ferreira, and debunk the rumor that he has forsaken their faith.
I had the privilege of finally reading Silence back in November. As a Christian, this book is incredibly profound and really got me thinking about my relationship with God, about His silence and about faith. If you have the chance, no matter your religion, this book is really great. And to be honest, I was a little nervous about seeing this film. Mostly because I haven't cared for any Scorsese movies I've seen. So I calmed my expectations, but still walked out of the movie really loving this film.
Silence, as a film, is beautiful, brutal, heartbreaking and breath-taking. Andrew Garfield is superb in this role and I feel like people looking back on 2016 will be perplexed as to why Garfield is getting nominations (including a probably Oscar nomination) for Hacksaw Ridge rather than this film. Granted I still haven't seen Hacksaw, but he is sublime here. I'm so glad to see Garfield return back to interesting films after a detour doing Spider-man. He truly is a very good actor and all the work he reportedly put into this was worth it. The character of Father Rodrigues is a complex character who is walking that thin line of trust and doubt and Garfield nails this. Adam Driver is also really good here (with a better Portuguese accent than Garfield) and it's a shame that his character disappears for a long chunk of the film. As well, Liam Neeson is also really good with the little time he is given. But another standout for me was Issey Ogata in the role of the Inquisitor. It's a shame this performance isn't getting any notices because Ogata really is great.
This was once perceived as an Oscar frontrunner but the poor box office returns and late/bad promotion seems this will be lucky to get a handful of nominations. What is potentially the most deserving nomination would be for cinematography. Rodrigo Prieto's work here is breathtaking. The opening shot stands out for me, the view of these hills covered in mist in Japan. It looks almost like a painting and it's completely beautiful, even with such violence happening at the same time. If nothing else, this is a beautifully shot movie and by far deserves a nomination (if not a win) here.
Silence is a film that I know very few are interested in, and even fewer will go see. This is too bad because it's definitely worth your time. And it saddens me hearing so many people say they "don't have time to see a 3 hour film". Please note this film is roughly only 10 minutes longer than Captain America: Civil War so you definitely have time to go see this because I know you had time to see that. This is an incredibly moving film about faith and doubt, even if you don't believe in God. It's a story about choices and what choices you make in the face of persecution and whether there are even right answers. Silence is a film worth your time.