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Release Date:
22nd December 2016
161 min
MPAA Rating:
Martin Scorsese
Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese
Stream Quality:
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Two Jesuit priests, Sebastião Rodrigues and Francis Garrpe, travel to seventeenth century Japan which has, under the Tokugawa shogunate, banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact. There they witness the persecution of Japanese Christians at the hands of their own government which wishes to purge Japan of all western influence. Eventually the priests separate and Rodrigues travels the countryside, wondering why God remains silent while His children suffer.


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 73%
IMDb Rating 7.6


Adam Driver as Garrpe
Andrew Garfield as Rodrigues
Ciaran Hinds as Father Valignano
Liam Neeson as Ferreira
Tadanobu Asano as Interpreter

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Will Thomas ([email protected]) 7th January, 2017

Piercing Silence

The experience is extraordinary from different reasons. Martin Scorsese with a legendary career behind him breaks new ground with the fierce and renewed passion. A film made for the love of film not for box office expectations. A work of love from beginning to end. Then, Andrew Garfield. What a year for this young spectacular actor. The kindness in his eyes made the journey so personal for me. I must say that I've been very lucky because I've been lead by my mentor (another Martin by the way)into the world of Scorsese. I found Scorsese's films brilliant yes, but too dark, too violent and hopeless and my mentor said, "No, don't stay in the periphery, go in. You'll see Martin Scorsese's films are religious experiences" Well I got in, I saw, I felt, I understood and as a consequence I wept for most of Silence. Thank you Marty and Martin from the bottom of my heart.

Reviewed by jakob13 28th December, 2016

When the light of Christianity went out in Japan

Martin Scorsese took 20 years to bring Endo Shusaku's 'Silence' to the screen, for lack of funding. Set in Japan during the 17 century in the wake of the failure of the mainly Christian peasants revolt against the ruling Tokugawa clan in the wake of the Battle of Shinmabara, in the Kansai region of Japan (including Osaka, Nakasaki, the island of Kyushu and surrounding islands). This salient fact is absent in Scorsese's wondrous film: its absence puzzles the general audience whose grasp of Japanese history is tenuous at best. Pictorially, it is remarkably shot in vivid, painterly colors. Cinematographer Diego Prieto uses fire, the earth, water, air and the vacuum that repression of Christian weigh on the spirit of Japan. Shusaku uses the metaphor of the swamp to designate Japan as unfit for Christianity to take root. But is that true? The Counter Reformation sent forth the Jesuits to bring Roman Christianity to the world. They found fertile ground in southern (Kansai) Japan. 'Silence' puts the number of converts as 300.000, including samurai (nobles) and peasants. What, again, is absent in Scorsese script, is that the arrival of Christianity took place in a n age of warring clans, that the Tokugawa Shoguns won, thereby consolidating their rule until the coming of Admiral Perry's black ships forced open in the 1850s, from its splendid isolation. The Christianized south thus became a rival, backed by adherence and, possibly, allegiance to foreigners and the Pope in Rome. Which, it can be argued attacked the idea of what being a Japanese meant, Japan's independence, and the introduction of foreign influences and ideas, manners and trade and customs. The early Tokugawa restricted trade and limited movement of foreigners. After Shimabara, the shoguns in Edo (Tokyo), waged a brutal, merciless campaign to eradicate vestiges of Christianity in and closed Japan to the outside world. 'Silence begins with two Jesuits slipping secretly into Kansai to find the only remaining Jesuit who it is bruited has become an apostate. The Japanese authorities forced Christians to step on the portrait of the Virgin or Christ on the cross, to renounce Christianity. Those who refused suffer lingering torture until they expired: boiled alive, hanged upside down with a slit on an artery the better to exsanguinate the victim in a death of a single knife cut, crucifixion, and so on, ,the better to successfully expunge any vestige of Roman Christianity in Japan. Andrew Garfield as Father Rodrigues and Adam Driver as Father Garppe are on a mission to investigate the truth of Father Feirreira's apostasy. Smuggled into Kyushu, they find a group of hidden Christians who find comfort in the priests presence, the reciting of the mass once more, the ministration of the sacraments, ending a prolonged period of spiritual drought. The priests are helped by a renegade Christian Kichigiro (Yasuke Kubozuka), who like the disciple Peter betrays his God (whom the Jesuits represent) three times. In consequent, risking the very lives of his secret coreligionists. Garfield is a figure in black that is strikingly different with colors of Japan. He is pious, self-effacing, but smug in his beliefs. You wonder about these two men gone far away from their home,; the lose themselves in something larger and stranger than the lives they had known. They are driven by the Jesuit motto: for the greater glory of God. They have taken holy orders, they have a spiritual map and exercises to achieve their appointed goals. Alas, Scorsese's script makes them out to be lifeless, lacking animation. Vapid is the best term to portray Scorsese's concept of them. His genera; conceit may arise from the religious training he received in the old St. Patrick Cathedral School in Little Italy more than 60years ago. Scorsese is, I believe, a very spiritual man, and his film clearly raises questions of right and wrong and salvation. However, for him and his reading of Shusaku's 'Silence', he has sunk into a Western bog when it comes to Japan. And yet, the Japanese characters are full of life and they, in contrast to the Jesuits, are colorful, complex and complicated; and be they peasant or samurai, they come out of the screen, leaving sensory scratches on our minds. They are earthy and full-blooded, they are subtle and keen and maliciously playful in playing hot and cold to stamp out traces of Christianity. Tadanobu Asano as the interpreter and especially Issei Ogata as the wily Inquisitor can, in my mind, rivals Dostoyevsky's breaths much life into 'Silence'. The Japanese cast does a yeoman's job and deserves high praise. In the end, an apostate priest remains in Japan. In a way, if you recall the ending of Evelyn Waugh's 'Brideshead Revisited', the hero Charles Ryder kneels in the Marchmain' chapel, once again consecrated with the red flame signaling the presence of Christ in the tabernacle, Garfield remains, despite his spiritual sacrifice, a priest, a representative of Jesus in a Japan where technically no practicing Christians remain. But Garfield is that red light until he dies. Truth be told in Kansai, secret Christians like cryptic Jews embraced Buddhism, but introduced Christian beliefs in it. In 1868 when the Emperor gained power, hidden Christians reemerged after 200 years. And they could openly practice Christianity again. But the religious cleansing and the closure of Japan to the outside world did its work. And so they remain a very small minority today. But Christians in Kansai were not spared further suffering. For the plutonium bomb that the Americans dropped on 9 August 1945 wiped out a goodly number of Japanese Christians, and those who survived bore the scars of radiation. In all, 'Silence' is worth seeing. And better yet, reading Shusaku's excellent novel.

Reviewed by 23rd December, 2016

The latest temptation of Martin Scorsese

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 --

Reviewed by sean-711-812470 15th December, 2016

Powerful Kurosawa homage by the great Martin Scorsese

Saw an advance screening: This is a powerful film, incredibly challenging and well-acted. Amazing location footage, historical details from 17th century Japan, and depiction of a clash of cultures between East and West. Scorsese is clearly doing a Kurosawa homage here, as the film has an old-fashioned epic feeling to it. As for the plot based on Shusako Endo's historical novel, it's remarkably even-handed. At the time of the isolationist Tokugawa shogunate, which only ended in 1867 after American gunboats forced Japan's ports to reopen to trade, the Japanese clearly saw the Catholic faith as symbolic of Western cultural and political takeover. But does that justify the torture, coercion, and killing of Christians to make them abandon their faith? We might consider a historical analogy: When the Spanish later felt the same way, driving the Moors out of Spain and forcing those who remained to convert to Catholicism because of the perception that Islam symbolized cultural and political takeover, do we excuse the Spanish Inquisition? The best answer might be that we can understand even if we do not excuse violent push-backs against invading cultures. There is perhaps an allegory here, as well, to the current plight of Syrian refugees and their reception or non-reception by European nations. In any event, the themes here are rich and complex, and the cast -- particularly Garfield, Neeson, Driver, and the masterful Japanese actor who plays the inquisitor -- are outstanding. This is Scorsese at his finest, eschewing black-and-white thinking in favor of complex moral dilemmas. I don't think I've ever seen a mainstream Hollywood film that is as intelligent about addressing cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue as "Silence." The anguish of religious faith is part of what's going on here, but it's only the centerpiece of a very rich cinematic canvas.

Reviewed by GoneWithTheTwins_com 10th December, 2016

Faith is tested again and again for nearly three hours.

It begins with a cacophonous medley of environmental sounds, such as crickets chirping, before cutting to absolute silence and the title. And then to a shot of severed heads. Perhaps this is Scorsese adding in some of his signature bits of artistic representations and violence. But what follows is an excruciating exercise in repetition, as faith is tested again and again for nearly three hours, with a relentlessness better reserved for succinct motifs, not heavy-handed, protracted lessons on religious dogmata. "There's little peace for us now." The progress of spreading Christianity in Japan has been halted by persecution and destruction. The remaining padres have - along with their followers - been brutally murdered. Some even ask to be tortured to demonstrate their faith in God, but the end result is the same. When a letter reaches Father Valignano (Ciaran Hinds), purporting that one of the strongest of all priests, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), has apostatized and taken up a Japanese wife, two young padres refuse to accept such an unequivocal falsity. Resolute in clearing his name, they determine to make the hazardous journey to Japan to find out the truth about Ferreira's whereabouts. Father Garrpe (Adam Driver) and Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) were directly under his tutelage, and so procure a Japanese man, Kichijiro (Yosuke Kubozuka), living in Macao, to aid in their smuggling onto the island. By 1640, Garrpe and Rodrigues are the last two priests to witness the aftermath of the 20 years of Jesuit persecution in Japan. They make their way to the tiny village of Tomogi before moving on to Goto, where remnants of Christian believers still secretly practice their faith. They must hide during the day and hold mass in the dead of night, always in fear of being found out by the Inquisitor (Issei Ogata), an elderly, somewhat comical man charged with seeking out and eradicating the perceived threat of Christianity. "Silence" does exhibit stellar performances, especially when it comes to exceptional courage through unshakeable beliefs (Driver being far more convincing than Garfield, in appearance and speech). There are also opportunities for contrasts and fluctuations in adherence to such religious principles, particularly with Kichijiro, who comes to represent many of the failed ideologies mistranslated or misunderstood in proliferating a system so fundamentally alien to many of the formerly Buddhist inhabitants. Doubt also creeps in, as Garrpe grows impatient and Rodrigues questions the illusory habits of a deity that unexplainably remains absent in the most anguishing of times. The two priests, along with most of the villagers, are desperate for tangible signs of faith - signs that occasionally become more valuable than faith itself. In this perpetual search for validation and proof of God's omniscience, there are numerous sequences of profound conviction, made more striking by the increasing pitifulness of the survivors and the escalation of tortures inflicted on those who refuse to renounce the invading religion. But, correspondingly, in this indulgent, overlong epic of potent morals, where the individualization of religious implications routinely trumps the bigger picture (along the lines of the infuriating yet purposeful justifications seen in "A Man for All Seasons"), there's fleeting entertainment value to be found. It's a historical lecture more than a moving examination of theological unity or human weakness, and surely a plodding series of reiterations on shaping spirituality through pain and fear. It's not quite the "priestsploitation" nonsense that it could have been, but it's nevertheless redundant, light on engaging drama, heavy on physical and psychological trials, and sparse on monumental ideas. Particularly with its finale, "Silence" attempts to think for the audience, so that they don't have to strain to uncover subtle genuineness; religious viewers will certainly interpret various sequences to a greater (or different) degree than those without perspectives comparable to the characters on screen. - The Massie Twins