Saturday, May 20, 2017

Silence Movie Review

Silence (2016)
Rent Silence on Amazon Video // Read the book 
Written by: Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese (screenplay), Shûsaku Endô (based on the novel by)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds
Rated: R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumored to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Catholicism.

This movie is absolutely incredible, not to mention this is a Scorsese movie. The story explores religion and what it means to be merciful. The paradox faced by the characters is whether it's right to deny your religion to save others, and yourself, from pain and torture.
The imagery is stunning, and while it could be called slow, this is a movie that pushes you to ask questions instead of watching moving images.
Watch it.

Scorsese has been developing this movie for over twenty five years. Based on a 1966 novel and set in the 1600s, Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) travel to Japan to find their mentor (Liam Neeson) who has renounced his faith. In the first few minutes you'll realize this is a great looking film. It's introspective, which means many will find it slow, though I didn't. The pacing fits the movie.

The priests travel to Japan, eagerly received by the people. They cling to Christianity, which makes sense. If life is unbearable, the promise of an afterlife is enticing. The Christians have to live underground as anyone admitting their beliefs is persecuted and killed.

Rodrigues (Garfield) and Garupe (Driver) have different paths, I can't blame Garupe for not recanting his faith, but neither can I condemn Rodrigues for considering it. It's psychological torture to break his spirit. Personal honor and saving a life intersect.
The persecutors tell Rodrigues they'll stop torturing Christians if he recants his faith. This asks the question of the viewer. What would you do? Should Rodrigues consider it, is he justified?

Apostasy isn't a complicated process. One needs nearly place their foot upon a wood carving of Christ. The implication is what has such a big impact.

It's a religious film exploring mercy, not dissimilar from Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) which explored Christ's dual nature. Just like Last Temptation, this is a film that's not preachy. Unlike Christian specific films, it doesn't need a separate rating scale because those films often are targeted for such a narrow audience. Silence is complex and real, exploring a question most Christians would dismiss entirely, and thus miss the point.
Christ is merciful, but to gain mercy in this situation the priests must deny Christ. It may just be words or a simple action, but Christianity urges one to stand up for their religion no matter the consequences.

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