Even before it hit the big screen, Martin Scorsese’s passion project “Silence” was met with a mixed reaction from critics and fans alike. The film, said the buzz, doesn’t look or feel like a Scorsese film. Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I have to respectfully disagree. Having tackled issues of sin, religion, and spirituality in many of his films (“The Last Temptation of Christ” anyone?), Scorsese was clearly the right man to execute Shusaku Endo’s acclaimed novel about Portuguese priests on a dangerous mission to 16th Century Japan. Scorsese and screenwriter Jay Cocks had a script ready in the early 90’s, but it never saw the light of day. Now that it’s here, these two spare us nothing; we are eye witnesses to a very dark time in Japan’s history, where Japanese leaders who rejected Christianity forced believers to publicly reject Jesus or perish instead. This is where our two young priests come in. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver are sent to Japan to search for Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who disappeared while on a mission there. The performances are as vivid as the beautiful production design as well as Rodrigo Prieto’s striking cinematography. There is no particular score here. In one of the film’s most powerful passages, Scorsese uses silence to convey emotions instead. Proving himself as a master director once again, Scorsese makes doubters of us all. One thing’s for sure: you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. What we have here is yet another masterpiece from one of the best directors of all time. You can’t possibly miss that.
★★★ Very good