Saturday, 28 January 2017

Silence (2016)


Drama | History


Martin Scorsese


USA | Taiwan | Mexico


Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds, Issey Ogata, Shinya Tsukamoto, Yoshi Oida, Yosuke Kubozuka, Nana Komatsu, Ryo Kase, Béla Baptiste


Two Catholic missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) travel to Japan in attempt to locate their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) at a time when Catholics was outlawed.


Martin Scorsese is a fantastic director, but I didn't really like his latest works - I'm specifically talking about "The Wolf of Wall Street", a movie I couldn't bear. Still I was interested in seeing "Silence", a movie that took Scorsese two decades to make and that I was expecting to be good. And it was good. Very difficult to sit through but good.

Based on Shusaku Endo's novel of the same name, the story is rich and complex, and deals with torture and executions all in the name of a God that is supposed to care about his followers. It is about the struggle to reconcile faith with pain, about accepting torture and death for a better afterlife, but most of all it shows what it means to have faith.

To show that brutality people went through for believing in something they were not supposed to believe in, Martin Scorsese uses a lot of silence and nearly three hours of the audience's time, still he manages to deliver suspense and climaxes.

However, "Silence" has one big problem: it focuses too much on Christianity and how it was not welcome and doesn't seem to care at all about Japan's religion(s). For the Japanese to have such a strong opinion against Christians, I was expecting to see a little of Buddhism or Shintoism.

Anyway, visually the film is a feast. From the costumes to the cinematography, the film truly is beautiful to look at. Which feels a bit strange to say because there's really nothing beautiful about those kind of things happening.

What really makes this film work is the cast, especially Andrew Garfield in the role of a young priest determined to find his mentor. He delivers fear, anger, despair and pain. This is by far his best performance of his I've seen (and he should have been nominated at the Oscars). The supporting cast also does a great job, and worth of a mention is Issey Ogata whose performance is simply remarkable.


  1. I'm so glad you reviewed this because I heard so much about the film but wasn't exactly sure about it. I do want to see this and now, more than ever, after reading your review. It sounds like a great study on Christianity and everything it's supposed to be...or not. I agree with you about the Wolf of Wall Street....didn't care for it at all.

    1. You should watch it, it's a bit long and slow but it's a rewarding experience.

  2. E' stata una visione struggente. Questa volta Scorsese mi ha lasciato senza fiato...