Silence (2016)

Silence is renowned director Martin Scorsese’s most recent piece of work and is arguably one of the most, if not the most, awaited films outside of the super-hero/Star Wars realm which pretty much dominates the blockbuster industry nowadays. And it doesn’t disappoint.

Silence is the story of the hard and long search of two Portuguese Jesuit priests for Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), another priest who travelled all over Japan, spreading Christianity. As the title suggests, this is a film marked by silence. In fact, every major scene is characterised by silence, whether it’s a calm and tranquil silence or, more often than not, a gruesome and hard silence.

Liam Neeson as Padre Ferreira.

The persecution of Christians in Japan during the 16th and 17th centuries is a very interesting topic, particularly for me as a Portuguese. Despite being an important part of the Age of Discovery (15th-18th century), the spreading of the Christian faith throughout the “discovered” lands and its successes (e.g. Philippines) and failures (e.g. Japan) is not a common theme and is hardly addressed during compulsory education in Portugal. Thus, I’m very glad Scorsese chose it for his film.

Returning to the matter at hand, the acting trio does a great job. Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver deliver strong performances, particularly Garfield. Even so, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Adam Driver as I think his performance was spot-on.

Finally, the religion. This is, as expected, a film with a very strong spiritual components. Religion is a topic which isn’t usually well tackled in cinema, as directors and actors alike may struggle with the idea of faith and how to transmit it to the audience. In Silence, this is very well handled by Martin Scorsese.

Andrew Garfield as Padre Rodrigues.

Overall, Silence is another very good film by Scorsese and it should have had, at least, received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Well, at least Andrew Garfield was nominated for its role in Hacksaw Ridge.



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