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‘Silence’ Surges With Courage and Determination

Genre: Drama Foreign
MPAA Rating: R
for some disturbing violent content
Runtime: 161 minutes
Our Rating:
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Andew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson
Review by Diana Saenger

Just the name Martin Scorsese can draw many movie fans to the theater. Since his Best Director - Motion Picture award nomination of Raging Bull in 1980 to his Best Director and Best Film The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013, (which I totally disliked and did not win an award), Scorsese has continued on a path of his likes and ideas and produced some of the best films ever made.

For some 28 to 30 years Scorsese has wanted to film the movie Silence based on the 1966 novel by Japanese Catholic writer Shusako Endo, and recently called a novel of our time by the New York Times. Scorsese’s finished product is earning raves from critics all over the world, for its story, theme, humanity, courage, acting and cinematography.

Jesuit priests are suffering for their faith in 17th century Japan. Christianity is outlawed and anyone connecting to it will lose their lives. Jesuit priests go there to do what’s expected of them but can they keep their lives.


That threat doesn’t stop Jesuit Christian missionaries Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and his partner Father Francisco Garrpe (Adam Driver). Actually their main mission is to leave Portugal and go to Japan to search for Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson). He went to Japan a long time ago to search for Christians and help them, but has never returned.


After their long journey the Priests find a place to rest and soon one by one Japanese faith believers find them. They mentor those in need while also asking about Father Cristóvão Ferreira.  They occasionally get a glimpse of the torture the likes of officials such as inquisitor Inoue Masashige (Issei Ogata) – who wants to eradicate Christianity from Japan – impose on faith believers.

Left - Yoshi Oida, Shin’ya Tsukamoto Right Garfield, Driver

At one point they put Father Rodrigues through some of the tortures they use on believers. Garfield has just been through months of good comments about his acting as Desmond Dos in Hacksaw Ridge. His performance here will surely bring him more, maybe even on stage at the Academy awards.

Adam Driver is also gaining notice with his performances in Star Wars: Episode Vll – The Force Awakens and the recent Patterson. Liam Neeson becomes a very mysterious Father Cristóvão Ferreira who might really surprise his comrades if they find him. The Japanese actors also do a splendid job in portraying characters that one minute make one feel like their best friends, and the next set off an alarm to run.

Garfield, Tsukamoto

The shooting location in Taiwan was perfect to reflect the atmosphere of pure faith believers in God, as well as tormentor’s who slide into horrific scenes as laidback as sunbathing on a beautiful day. From the beginning of the film Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto captures the beauty of the environment as well as the catastrophes, but the heart of the story is superb.

Scorsese said about Christianity, “At this time in my life I continually think about -- wonder about -- faith and doubt, weakness, and the human condition, and these are the very themes that Endo’s book touches upon in such a direct way.”

Critics are praising this film; these are just a few comments they have made about Silence.

“The film demands to be seen, and don't make plans for afterward: This film will not leave you alone just because you've left the cinema.” – Tom Shone Newsweek. –

“With the religious historical drama Silence, Martin Scorsese proves he's as masterful a filmmaker with men of God as he is with gangsters.” – Brian Truitt Usa Today. –

Silence is a slowly unfolding, deeply thoughtful film about questioning yourself. About questioning authority. About taking stock of where you've failed as a human being, and wondering how you can make amends - to yourself, to others, and to God.” –Stephen Whitty New York Daily News . –

“It works on more than one level, taking you on a far greater emotional journey and leaving you with more food for thought than any genre film in memory.” Colin Cobert. – Star Tribune –

“The film can be ponderous in its rumination and ambiguity, but few cinematic treatments of Christianity and sanctity have been as generous or as intellectually challenging as Silence.” Tal Rosenberg – Chicago Reader –

“No matter the depth or absence of one's faith, this is a film that tests our biases and stirs our feelings in uncommon, profound ways.” Alan Ziberman. – Washington City Paper –

Photo Credits: Paramount Pictures

Recommended Audience:
Fans of outstanding motivational films.