Silence

Silence
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Sometimes silence is the deadliest sound
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7/10 by 445 users
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Two Jesuit priests travel to seventeenth century Japan which has, under the Tokugawa shogunate, banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact.

Title:Silence
Release Date:December 22, 2016
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:R
Genres:Drama, History
Production Co.:CatchPlay, Waypoint Entertainment, Cappa Defina Productions, Sikelia Productions, Fábrica de Cine, Emmett Furla Oasis Films (EFO Films), SharpSword Films
Production Countries:Mexico, Taiwan, United States of America
Director:Martin Scorsese, David Webb, Jessica Lichtner
Writers:, ,
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:christianity, japan, missionary, based on novel, betrayal, torture, martyrdom, crisis of faith, portuguese, 17th century, shogunate, jesuit priest, religious persecution, religious icon, apostasy
Alternative Titles:
  • Silence - [JP]
  • Milczenie Boga - [PL]
  • Мълчание - [BG]
  • Silencio - [ES]

Silence Reviews

  • Piercing Silence
    by Will Thomas (willandthomas.picturehouse@gmail.com) on 7 January 2017

    166 out of 256 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • Scorsese in Bergman/Dreyer mode, and it's amazing
    by MisterWhiplash on 8 January 2017

    95 out of 169 people found the following review useful:

    It's Scorsese. Martin Scorsese. He makes the best films. Is this one of his best? Hmm....

    It's a personal/religious epic, but it's all about the interior self - an intimate epic, which is always the toughest to pull off. Silence chronicles morality in such a way that is staggering and with very few specks of light (that is, brief relief through laughter - it does come through the character Kichijiro, more on him in a moment), and it's practically an anomaly to be released by a major studio with such a budget and big stars. This is a story that comes from history you rarely ever get to see anymore - history from a country like Japan that doesn't involve samurai (at least how we see them) and dealing with Christianity vs Buddhism - and it's directed with a level of vision, I mean in the true, eye-and-heart opening sense that declares that this man still has a lot to say, maybe more than ever, in his latter years.

    Silence is, now pondering it hours after seeing it, possibly the best "faith-based" film ever made (or at least since Last Temptation of Christ); in its unintentional way, a great antidote to those pieces of garbage like God's Not Dead and War Room which preach only to a select few and insult the intelligence of everyone else. In this story of Jesuit priests who go on a journey to find a priest who may be long gone but could be found and brought home, it's meant for adults who can and should make up their own minds on religion and God, and the persecution part of it isn't some ploy from the filmmakers for fraudulent attention. This is about exploring what it means if you have faith, or how to question others who do, and what happens when people clash based on how people see the sun. Literally, I'm serious.

    It's also heavier than most other films by this director, which is good but also tough to take on a first viewing. And yet it feels always like a Scorsese film, not only due to the rigorous craft on display (I could feel the storyboards simmering off on to the screen, I mean that as a compliment, this is staggeringly shot by Rodrigo Prieto, I'm glad Scorsese's found another guy), or the performances from the main actors (Garfield is easily giving his all, and not in any cheesy way, Driver's solid, Neeson seems to be paying some sort of penance for some mediocre action fare), but because of a key character: Kichijiro.

    He's someone who really fits in to the Scorsese canon of characters who are so tough to take - he makes things difficult for Rodrigues, to say the least, and yet keeps coming back like some sad pathetic dog who can't make up his mind - but, ultimately, the toughest thing of all for this Father, as it must be for this filmmaker, is 'I know he is weak and irrational and probably bad in some way... but he must be loved as all of other God's children.' So as far as unsung performances for 2016 go, Yôsuke Kubozuka follows in a tradition set out by none other than De Niro (think of him in Mean Streets and Raging Bull, it's like that only not quite so angry).

    I may need another viewing to fully grasp it. But for now, yes, see it, of course. For all its length and vigorous explorations and depictions of suffering (occasionally highly graphic), not to mention the, for Scorsese, highly unusual approach of a lack of traditional (or any) music or score, it's unlike anything you'll see in cinema this year, maybe the decade, for pairing the struggle of a man to reconcile his God and his responsibility to others in a repressive regime with the visual splendor of something from another time - maybe Kurosawa if he'd had a collaboration with Bergman. And yet for all of this high praise, there's also a feeling of being exhausted by the end of it. Whether that exhaustion extends to other viewings I'm not sure yet. As a life-long "fan" of this director, I was impressed if not blown away.

  • Shines a light on the inadequacy of both secular materialism and fundamentalist religion
    by Howard Schumann on 15 January 2017

    75 out of 133 people found the following review useful:

    Christianity came to Western Japan in 1542 by way of Jesuit missionaries from Portugal who brought gunpowder and religion. They were welcomed mostly for the weapons they brought and their religion was allowed to be practiced openly. Christianity was banned, however, after reports circulated of missionary intolerance towards the Shinto and Buddhist religions, and there were rumors of the sale of Japanese into overseas slavery. It wasn't until the late 1630s, however, that a complete ban on Christianity was declared and enforced by the Tokugawa Shogunate and persecutions, torture, and murders were relentlessly pursued.

    Based on Shusaku Endo Edo's 1966 historical novel culled from the oral histories of Japanese Catholics, Martin Scorsese's masterful film Silence brings us face to face with the repression faced by the early missionaries. While the film does not condone the subjugation of religious minorities, it examines the advisability of attempting to convert a country's population without a deep understanding of their beliefs and traditions. The film opens in 1635 as two Jesuit priests, Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield, "Hacksaw Ridge") and Francesco Garrpe (Adam Driver, "Paterson"), request permission from their superior Father Valignano (Ciaran Hinds, "Bleed for This") to go to Japan to discover the fate of their mentor, Father Cistavio Ferreira (Liam Neeson, "A Monster Calls"), rumored to have renounced his faith and to be living with a Japanese wife.

    The missionaries are not unaware of the persecution and murder of thousands of peasants and priests who have converted to Christianity, yet they are anxious to undertake their dangerous mission to support the local Christians and to find out the truth about Father Ferreira. When they arrive in Japan they are greeted by a group of "hidden Christians" known as "kakure kirishitan" who have been compelled to publicly renounce their faith and go into hiding to practice their faith in secret, knowing that anyone can earn 100 pieces of silver for turning in a Christian to the authorities and 300 pieces for surrendering a priest. Here, the two priests hear confessions and give baptisms and say mass in the middle of the night In order to avoid capture.

    Working with such past collaborators as Editor Thelma Schoonmaker ("Learning to Drive"), Production Designer Dante Ferretti ("Cinderella"), and Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto ("The Wolf of Wall Street"), Scorsese does not hold back in showing the graphic nature of the torture that those who are arrested must endure. This includes beheadings, being wrapped in straw and burned alive or thrown into the sea. Some are mounted on a cross and placed in the sea until death comes mercifully after repeated pounding of the waves against them. For some, to die a martyr is a high calling, one which will be rewarded in the afterlife and they accept their fate willingly similar to today's Islamic suicide bombers.

    Rodrigues, however, now separated from Garrpe, takes on a Christ-like appearance and begins to see himself as the personification of Jesus. He now must choose between rigidly maintaining his religious beliefs or saving the lives of innocent villagers by surrendering to the audacious Inquisitor (Issey Ogata) by placing his foot on a carved Christian icon known as a fumie, an act tantamount to renouncing his faith. In doing so, Rodrigues thinks about Kichijiro (Yôsuke Kubozuka, "Deadman Inferno"), a convert who continually begs for the Sacrament of Penance after he apostasizes again and again. The issues are further crystallized when Rodrigues confronts the truth about Father Ferreira.

    While Silence does not fully achieve the transcendence of a true spiritual epic, Scorsese should be acknowledged for opening up the space for a meaningful inquiry into a subject that has perplexed countless philosophers and students of religions for centuries. Perhaps inadvertently, the film, however, does shine a light on the inadequacy of both secular materialism and fundamentalist religion to satisfy our true spiritual needs and answer the overriding question of the film. This must be answered by each person through their own direct experience. For me, to know God is to embrace the silence, to live in it, and know that it is the "source of all sound."

  • Good, but Too Long and Tiresome Film
    by Claudio Carvalho on 12 March 2017

    24 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

    In the Seventeenth Century, in Portugal, the Portuguese Jesuit priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe[ (Adam Driver) ask permission to Father Alessandro Valignano (Ciarán Hinds) to travel to Japan to investigate the rumors that their mentor Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) had committed apostasy abandoning his Catholic faith after being tortured by the shogunate. They meet the alcoholic fisherman Kichijiro (Yosuke Kubozuka) that agrees to guide them to Japan. When they arrive at a small village, they learn that the Christians residents live hidden in caves since the Inquisitor kills any villager suspect to be Christian. Along the days, Rodrigues and Garupel propagate Catholicism among the villagers and try to find a lead to Ferreira. But when the Inquisitor arrives in the village with his men, the live of the residents and the priests will change.

    "Silence" is a film directed by Martin Scorcese that shows how cruel a man can be. Based on historical facts, "Silence" show the powerful Shogunate defending their religion and culture against the European Catholicism that promises easy paradise to the suffered Japanese workers that has to work lot to pay the taxes and survive. The result is a good, but too long and tiresome film. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Silêncio" ("Silence")

  • Will take some time to process
    by artmania90 on 16 January 2017

    38 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

    There's a reasonable argument to say that SILENCE is one of Martin Scorsese's better movies. The talk is that it was a passion project of his for decades, finally being released in all it's artistic endeavors and mysteries. I suppose someone else could argue the opposite: that this is a story full of brutality and despair without the signature style of the aged director. I think I'm falling right on the middle on this one. This is surely one of the year's most powerful stories, and yet I have to admit it left me cold.

    The story follows two priests from Portugal (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who venture into hostile Japanese country in search of their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who has abandoned his Christian faith. Some chalk it up to mere rumors. These two young ministers take the journey to find out for themselves.

    What begins as a fairly traditional story ventures into the heart of Japan in the 16th Century with a sharp attention to both detail and horror. This is less a story of a search for one man as it is an odyssey into the despair found in conflicting religious beliefs. Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) holds hope that Ferreira is alive while also working to convert as many locals under cover of darkness. Upon landing on the shores of Japan (smuggled in on small fishing boats from China), he encounters villages of faithful Christians who worship in secret. For them, the arrival of Rodrigues and Father Garupe (Driver) is confirmation of their beliefs. Through language barriers, it seems that God is always present.

    As we delve further into the country towards Nagasaki (where Ferreira is said to be held), the two priest break off on separate journeys. Rodrigues, though oftentimes alone, is shadowed by a Japanese recluse named Kichijiro, a drunk who once betrayed his faith in order to spare his life (he witnessed the execution of his entire family) but returns to the faith time again in order to make Confession and amends with the Lord. Rodrigues continues to absolve him, and yet this is the slow unraveling of an aspect of this story: do the Japanese really comprehend the religion in the same way Westerners do?

    There are three people who make this movie better than average: Andrew Garfield surely gives one of the year's best performances as a man trapped in his own personal Hell, forced to grapple between martyrdom and eternal damnation. It's a strong year for Garfield, getting accolades and Oscar buzz for his other leading role in 'Hacksaw Ridge.' Trust me, this is the better performance. Second is the skill of Martin Scorsese, who slowly paints a portrait of a time long forgot with such attention to tone. It's a horrifying and at times morbid story to sit through, but there was never a moment I found myself any less than fully-focused and contemplative.

    Third is a surprise, a breakthrough performance by a Japanese actor named Issey Ogata who gives without a doubt one of the year's most memorable performances. Throughout the film the Christians living in Japan are routinely inspected by samurai officials who intend to hunt down and capture any found citizens in violation of the law. One such official is Inoue Masashige (Ogata) who treats the job with a certain flair. Constantly waving a fan and with an ear to ear smile, this is a performance that steps above the rest of the cast by perfectly encapsulating the braggadocious nature of Japanese law without missing a beat. It's a winking devil performance that I hope the Oscars won't look over.

    'Silence' is at times hard to palpate and yet rewards the audience for it's patience. Whether or not this film can be interpreted as being pro or anti-Catholic is maybe not the ultimate message of this film. While the final act delves into a horrifyingly-dark arena, consider the final shot before the credits begin to role (I won't spoil it). In such a brutal era with antiquated customs, isn't there still hope left to be found?

  • stunned into silence
    by Philip Franklin on 11 January 2017

    128 out of 241 people found the following review useful:

    20 years in the making (apparently) and yet the most stark silence was that of the audience after the movie who clearly and with understandable deference to the Scorsese canon, were unwilling to immediately call this movie out for the self-indulgent disaster it actually is and could find few words to compensate for the searing boredom most had undoubtedly endured. Perhaps it's art masquerading as entertainment but, for me, it fails as either. The story was sparse, the characters undeveloped, the cinematography sometimes lush and promising and often the best thing about the movie. The message? There was little here that gave me anything to chew on. Faith is a tough gig at any time but particularly on a clandestine crusade in 17th century Japan? Sure. When life is almost unbearably awful the promise of paradise in the afterlife is alluring? Uh-huh. Belief is riddled with ambiguity, uncertainty, fear and doubt. Yep, I get it. If we were meant to sympathise or even empathise with a mission to convert the peasant classes in isolated and xenophobic Japan then I failed, badly. When God spoke in the silence I got confused, more worryingly so did the Jesuit priest. What was the question Scorsese was struggling so obviously to answer? I don't know but as Bukowski once said "for those who believe in God most of the big questions are answered" and for those who don't? Well they have an opportunity to be their own God.

  • Silence Of The Lambs
    by lucaajmone-it on 9 May 2017

    13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

    Agnus Dei that is, Lambs of God. What an extraordinary film.Martin Scorsese confirms his seriousness of intent and his enormous respect for his audience.He rates us so highly that he confides in us, telling us something that clearly comes straight out of his heart. Dry, severe, an intellectual's sensibility that becomes clear and accessible to all as we realize that Scorsese is not trying to sell us something but just to tell us, to share with us something that obsesses him. I was enthralled and moved throughout. The performances in a Scorsese film are always superb but in Silence, Andrews Garfield goes a step beyond superb. He managed to make his priest someone I knew personally even if his reality is far, far away from us in time and space. A masterpiece.

  • Masterful In Craft & Rich In Experience, But Dreary In Nature
    by Calum Rhys on 5 January 2017

    32 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

    To this day, Martin Scorsese remains my all-time favourite director, a man whose approach to cinema completely differs to others in Hollywood, his appreciation towards cinema as an art form is his finest quality in what makes him arguably the greatest film director around. With 'Silence' promoted as Scorsese's 20-year passion project, it was a film I couldn't resist seeing, the legend back behind the camera focusing on a subject not fully studied in cinema, a subject that's mostly misunderstood.

    I want to start with my conclusion and go from there. 'Silence' won't be everybody's film, the same way other ambitious films like 'The Revenant' or 'The Tree of Life' weren't, however despite my respect to Scorsese's mastery and level of detail, in my own honest opinion I believe this film fell short due to the lack of insight into it's main theme and thus instead transformed into a slow and somewhat dreary tale that arguably didn't need it's near 3-hour running time to tell its tale.

    Now don't get me wrong, in regards to the film's craft it is a masterpiece, the cinematography is raw and epic, the direction from Scorsese is phenomenal and the set design is gorgeous. Accompanying this are a series of fine performances, most notably from Andrew Garfield who should receive monumental praise for his role, I haven't seen such a visceral performance in years, the raw emotion is uncanny. But unfortunately the technicalities and craft can't cover up the flaws that lie in the running time and the tediously slow plot that didn't want to end.

    If there's anything I can leave you with from this review to help you decide as to whether it's a worthy watch or not, let me just say this: 'Silence' isn't a piece of entertainment, it's instead an experience; and whilst a technically masterful one at that, many audience members may find themselves slowly drifting off to sleep - as my neighbour in the cinema did. It isn't really a case of liking it or disliking it, it's more a case of the adventure, and despite my partial disappointment with it, the adventure was more than worthy enough for the viewing. Scorsese is still an exquisite auteur, flaws or not.

  • I was silenced after watching it
    by paulijcalderon on 1 February 2017

    16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

    Wow, I would be lying if I said that I wasn't silenced after watching this film. Really interesting subject matter. I am curious about the book now. When I first heard about the film I thought it looked like a modern "Andrei Rublev" set in Japan. Well, I was wrong about that. This film is very much its own beast. These are my first impressions right after seeing it.

    I didn't know much about the history of the Jesuit priests who traveled all the way to Japan. I did now that some Japanese converted to Christianity, but I didn't know there were that many. So, I was very surprised by that. It does explain a lot though. I understand more of the reasons why a civil war started in Japan that would ultimately lead to any foreigner being banned from the country. It's actually very interesting how the Japanese Christians almost feel more faithful than a lot of the European characters.

    This film explores both the beauty and the horrors of humans and their faiths. There are many beautiful calm scenes where you can relax and admire the stunning sets and locations. Then there are many scenes that will make you nervous, emotional and horrified because of the cruel punishments that some people must endure.

    Religion is an interesting subject matter and everyone has their own different view and opinion on it. I still haven't finished processing this film yet, but I'll tell you this; it's something that will stay on your mind for a while. It makes you think about a lot of things. Like what's right and wrong about the different views brought up in the film? And how would thing have been different if everyone would have accepted each others beliefs? And even if they didn't believe in the same thing, could they all still live in peace?

    It's not an action packed adventure, but more of a spiritual journey with exploration about morals, history and so, so much more. I thought it was wonderful, but do see it if you can and judge for yourself.

  • God Is Dead . Let Us Pray That Scorsese's Talent Isn't
    by Theo Robertson on 27 January 2017

    40 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

    Martin Scorsese ? I do remember being asked about religion in a University film class and replying that as far as I'm concerned Martin Scorsese is God . He is in my humble opinion the greatest living film maker in the world today and has been for several decades . It is noticeable that since the turn of the century he has tried a little bit too hard to wow the Oscar academy and considering the big name award ceremonies have effectively ignored SILENCE I did wonder if Scorsese might have shot himself in the foot by making an all too obvious Oscar bait type movie ?

    The simple , bitter truth is that SILENCE hasn't been snubbed due to Oscar politics but simply because it's not a good film at all . First up it's rather plodding and disjointed movie featuring two protagonists travelling from 16th Century Europe to Japan to find a former mentor and spread the Catholic faith . At no point in the movie was I aware of any time frame . The two priests find themselves established in Japan with Catholic converts but all this seems unnatural from a credibility point of view . There's narration filling in the gaps but this use of voice over is obvious and clumsy exposition

    There's also a problem with the acting . Garfield and Driver make for two uncharismatic leads and they're not good enough to carry this mediocre , disappointing film but the supporting Oriental cast are even worse . I noticed this was another serious problem with Scorsese's KUNDUN where a non English speaking amateur cast struggled and failed to bring life to English dialogue

    The fundamental problem though is the obvious elephant in the room - religious faith . One wonders if Scorsese is having a test of faith within his own head . The Lord works in mysterious ways . So mysterious in fact that it could be there is no God and our prayers will be met be silence ? It's often impossible to listen to the voice over without thinking Scorsese is having a meta-fictional conversation with himself . Marty if you're reading this every true fan of cinema has total faith in you and we want to see you come out compelling films with existentialism mixed with redemption that even cynical hardcore atheists will enjoy .

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