Silence ****

Running time 161 mins Cert: 15

: 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.

Director Martin Scorsese returns with his passion project which completes his religious trilogy after making ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’.

Based on the 1966 novel of the same name about Jesuit missionaries sent to 17th century Japan, where they endure persecution in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”) that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising of Catholic Christian peasants during the Tokugawa shogunate’s rule. 

The story was influenced by the Catholic Endō’s experience of religious discrimination in Japan.
The scope of the film is beautifully envisioned by Scorsese along with his production designer Dante Ferretti, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and editor Thelma Schoonmaker. All involved give the film a kind of Malick and Kurosawa influenced vision. Japan’s Edo period has been painstakingly recreated.

All performances are equally strong, although at times a bit distracting as the Priests give a not entirely convincing Portuguese accents There are some great supporting turns by Tsukamoto, Kubozuka aka the Inquisitor and Tadanobu Asano as the Interpreter. 

The pace is fairly slow & with a lengthy runtime may test the faith for any audience. But it must be said that it is worthwhile for ambitiousness and complexity of the piece, while not a film that could be revisited unlike Scorsese’s other masterpieces.
A beautiful piece of art crafted by a filmmaker like no other, however not as strong as his other works.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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