‘Silence’ explore loyalty, perseverance in Christian missionaries’ journey


Photo obtained from IMDb website through Fair Use.

Sawyer Barth

The recent release of historical drama film “Silence” marks the end of a nearly 30-year-long journey. Since 1989, Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese, known for films such as “Goodfellas” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” had been in the process of developing and financing his piece, but the production hit several roadblocks in the form of lawsuits, apprehensive investors and screenplay rewrites, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The religion-based epic follows two Portuguese Jesuit priests in the 17th century as they travel to Japan, where, at the time, practicing Christians faced the death penalty.

These men bring a source of hope to the Christians who have been hiding their faith from the authorities, but question the faith themselves when villagers start dying as a result of their devoutness. The film is both subtle and thrilling, providing breathtaking imagery of the Asian landscapes through which the priests travel.

The movie drags out a bit, reaching a runtime of two hours and 41 minutes, but this only provides Scorsese with more time to tell his fascinating story.

British actor Andrew Garfield portrays the protagonist of the film, Father Sebastião Rodrigues. Garfield previously appeared in Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” during late 2016, receiving Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance as a zealot-turned-soldier. While the release of “Silence” came too late for a nomination from either of these organizations, Garfield’s second pious performance of the year could gain just as much attention from the Academy.

Rodrigues’ traveling companion, Father Francisco Garupe, is played by American actor and Broadway player Adam Driver, who recently took on the role of Kylo Ren in J.J.Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Irish actor Liam Neeson plays their mentor, another Jesuit who was forced to denounce Christianity.

“Silence” explores themes of loyalty, perseverance and faith through the depiction of Father Rodrigues’ pain and suffering at the hands of the Japanese. While the nearly three-hour-long film is a bit drawn out at times, it provides a beautiful, moving and, at times, breathtaking image of a man’s endeavors to stay true to what he believes.