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The story of two Catholic missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) - at a time when Catholicism was outlawed and their presence forbidden.
With regards to Martin Scorsese's SILENCE, let me just put it this way, I saw Scorsese's 1988's "The Last Temptation Of Christ," back when I was in college, as you know that film was also an adaptation, and I thought it was pure masterpiece just in terms of its themes because whether or not you'd want to argue that perhaps that some of the approach may have been sacrilegious or religiously inconsiderate, if you will, to me it was about wondering the what if's and whether or not doubt has any footing in order for faith to grow. To a certain extent, SILENCE conveys something similar.
Based on Shusaku Endo's novel, SILENCE is about two Jesuit missionaries who travel to Japan because they have heard that their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has publicly denounced God. At the time, Christianity was outlawed in Japan, so in their search for their missing mentor, they endure torture, suffering, and the ultimate test of faith.
In a way you could say that SILENCE is Martin Scorsese's way of paying respect to the legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa especially for us fans who grew up watching old time Japan's samurai classics, although SILENCE is not action-driven obviously, but the authoritarian rule depicted in this film is definitely something that's culturally based on that particular era.
From technical standpoint, SILENCE is as rich and complex as the story itself, even the violence is done in a graphic yet artistic manner. Because the story is told through Andrew Garfield's Father Rodrigues' perspective, you'll find some of the shots from inside his prison cell, looking out, with the frame being in between the wooden bars, to be quite engrossing. It makes the tension all the more real because your mind just keeps racing, you don't know how much more gruesome it would get. Odd to say this but it sort of becomes a point of anticipation, it's as if every other half-hour or so, you know some Christians are going to get tortured and so you're just bracing for impact. Martin Scorsese's ever-so-reliable high standard quality filmmaking is present through and through, so there's no disappointing you there.
After being religious and full of conviction in "Hacksaw Ridge" as a Seventh-Day Adventist, actor Andrew Garfield becomes religious and full of conviction again, this time in "Silence" and what's interesting is that both films feature Japanese people. All that aside, this is yet another evidence of Garfield's commitment to his work, the same goes for Adam Driver and Liam Neeson who not only went through physical changes, you actually feel a bit concerned for their health, but that conviction is shown in their eyes. It's amazing to see how this former Spider-Man quickly this powerful force. The Japanese actors are equally outstanding, especially Issey Ogata whose performance has his own flamboyant way of being ruthless.
This is Scorsese's long passion project, he had been wanting to do this film for years, but the question remains, and those of you who've watched the film are probably wondering it as well. And my answer is no, I don't think SILENCE means to demonize Buddhism. If this film is Scorsese's way of promoting Christianity, then that is his prerogative. But throughout mankind's history, there had been many cases in many lands where the majority religion, whatever religion that maybe, persecutes the minority religion because they view them as a dangerous threat; a symbol of a potential takeover. Inquisitions have happened everywhere. Which leads me back to what I said earlier about how SILENCE reminds me a lot of "The Last Temptation Of Christ," we see men who are supposed to be like rocks, seemingly falter and start to question their faith, but perhaps questioning your faith is one way of reaffirming it. Liam Neeson's character in this film has a counter argument to Andrew Garfield's Rodrigues and he may make a bit of sense if you see it from his version of truth.
-- Rama's Screen --
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