Cinema Reviews

Silence Review


Japan in the early 17th century is not the place for Christian’s, this we know. The country was one which loved it’s Buddhism, it’s spirituality and all that comes with it; but to their own directive. This is the lesson which Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garrpe (Adam Driver) learn as they set off to locate and save their teacher Ferreira (Liam Neeson), with whom they’ve lost contact, in Scorsese’s epic Silence.

The pair arrive in Japan and, after preaching to and helping a small village who still practice Christianity on the sly, they must soon split for fear of being captured. In the interim before this decision is made, people die to keep the priests safe, and it haunts the pair to a great degree. Upon separation, the film then largely focuses on Garfield’s Rodrigues, soon captured by The Inquisitor and his interpreter, who slowly try to break him from his faith.

The unofficial 3rd in Scorsese’s spiritual trilogy is a long and sweeping affair, a tough watch at times, and one which shakes you to your core. Your soul will long for a connection with anything the way Garfield and Driver are devout to their faith, and the pain they witness and go through for their religion is a tough, but important watch.

It’s easy to forget what man, as a species, had to go through in years, decades, centuries past. Close minded, tunnel vision leading to never trusting those who appeared different. Garfield’s character tries his best to reason with the locals who oppose his views, saying that they are different branches of the same tree, but the Buddhists are having none of it.

Garfield in particular is on superb form here, another performance of note this year along with Hacksaw Ridge. While some scenes are a bit on the nose with the Christ comparisons, there is much to take from his suffering. Indeed, what some will go through for their faith bears question, but you must admire such dedication.

With Silence, Scorsese finally gets his solemn, gorgeous demand for religious tolerance he’s been building towards, and it is darkly beautiful. There are moments of much needed levity in the 161 minute feature, but it doesn’t let up for very long. Scenes of torture quickly bring you right back down to Earth, and overtures of characters questioning God’s silence and how he can allow such atrocities to happen is a major theme in the background of the pain on screen.

The question Scorsese asks is how deep does faith go, how far down until you have truly lost your beliefs. Who far does the silence, the ignorance from your faith, have to go before you’ve had enough of it. To the truly devout, this is a daily ritual. To those unsure, this is perplexing. Universally, there is no definitive answer, but to simply be sure of yourself.

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