Search This Blog

June 7, 2017

Silence (2016) --- "Sometimes Silence Does Not Always Mean Abandonment and Solitude."

Plot Summary
Two 17th-century Portuguese missionaries, Father Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), embark on a perilous journey to Japan to find their missing mentor (Liam Neeson). While there, the two men minister to the Christian villagers who worship in secret. If caught by feudal lords or ruling samurai, they must renounce their faith or face a prolonged and agonizing death. (1)

Subscribe to my blog via email HERE and share with your friends. 
Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Based on Shûsaku Endô's (The Sea of Poison) 1966 historical novel of the same name, Silence is a passionate faith-based film that took director Martin Scorsese (Wolf on Wall Street) 20 years to create. The final product that was released is not only artistic and mysterious but also brutal and thought to be filled with hopelessness, at least until you come to an interesting and beautiful end. Silence is very much its own beast and without a doubt 2017’s most powerful story yet. Rather than condone the suppression of religious groups, Silence examines the caution one must have in the attempt to convert a country without first a deep understanding of their beliefs and traditions. As we explore the beauty of an individual’s faithfulness to their faith, we are also exposed to the horrors and the lengths that people are willing to go to destroy that faith. The movie is filled with a balance of light and dark scenes. The lights scenes are calm and give you the opportunity to admire the beautiful scenery. While the darker scenes will bring you to the edge of your seat with emotional and horrific punishments that some characters must endure.

     The first Europeans to Japan came from Portugal and landed on Kyushu in Western Japan in 1542, bringing both gunpowder and Christianity along with them. The Japanese lords on Kyushu welcomed these new visitors for the weapons they brought with them and tolerated the Jesuit missionaries that came together as part of the package. The missionaries were eventually successful in converting considerable numbers of people in Western Japan, including members of the ruling class. Christianity could be practiced openly, however, in 1587, in an era of European colonization and Christianization of the nearby Philippines, Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued an edict banning missionaries from the country due to the religion's growing power, intolerant behavior towards Shinto and Buddhism, and involvement in the sale of Japanese people as slaves overseas. In 1597, Hideyoshi proclaimed a more serious banning edict and executed 26 Christians in Nagasaki as a warning. Intending to bring Japan under complete control, the succeeding Tokugawa Shogunate further hardened the country's anti-Christian stance, accusing the religion of obstructing the authorities, antisocial behavior, and intolerance towards the established religions. After a rebellion on the Shimabara Peninsula that involved many Christians in the late 1630s, thousands of rebels were executed and a full ban on Christianity became strictly enforced. Only small pockets of Christians, known as the "Hidden Christians", continued practicing their religion in secret1
     Following two Jesuit priests in 1635 Portugal – Father Rodriguez (Andrew GarfieldHacksaw Ridge) and Father Garupe (Adam Driver - Paterson) – who venture into hostile Japanese country in search of their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson - Taken). Rather than believe the rumors that Ferreira has abandoned his Christian faith and taken a Japanese wife, the two priests take the journey to find out for themselves. While holding trying to hold on to the hope that Ferreira has not apostatizes2, the story soon becomes an odyssey into the despair found when religious beliefs clash. For the Hidden Christians, the arrival of Rodriguez and Garupe is confirmation of their beliefs and though there are language barriers, it seems that God is always present.

     Andrew Garfield is easily giving his all and aside from his astounding role in Hacksaw Ridge (2016), Garfield gives both the year’s and his best performance of a man trapped in his own personal Hell as he continually struggles between martyrdom and eternal damnation. Adam Driver is solid and his character compliments Garfield’s character splendidly. Issei Ogata (Teacher and Stray Cat) as official Inoue Masashige, provides a breakthrough and memorable performance. Throughout the film, the Hidden 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. Official Inoue Masashige encapsulates the bragging and harsh nature of Japanese law while waving a fan and a splitting grin. A surprising key character is Yôsuke Kubozuka (Ichi) as Kichijiro, a drunk who betrayed his faith in order to spare his life continually returns time again in order to make Confession and amends with the Lord. This character is a bit tough to take and he makes things difficult for Rodriguez, who continues to absolve him. However, viewers begin to see that Kichijiro is the characterization of the sub-message that is slowly unraveled throughout the story: do the Japanese people really comprehend the religion in the same way that Westerners do?
     Overall, Silence is in no way an action-packed adventure like Hacksaw Ridge or Free State of Jones but rather it is an exploration of morals, history, religion, and so much more. It is a shocking and sometimes morbid story, one that viewers will find to be focusing and contemplative as it, in turn, rewards the audience for its patience. The ultimate message is not about being pro-Christian or anti-Christian but rather the film asks the question: “Despite living in such a brutal era with obsolete customs, is there still hope to be found?” The final shot before the credits begin to role answers that question but you’ll have to see it for yourself to find out.

“We asked for this mission”
– Father Sebastião Rodrigues

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Silence (2016).

Movies Similar 
Amazing Grace (2006)
Calvary (2014)
Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
Free State of Jones (2016)
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
The Last Samurai (2003)
The Mission (1986)
The New World (2005)
The Revanent (2016)
The Shack (2017)
Unbroken (2014)

Cast & Crew
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Writing Credits
          (Screenplay) Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese.
          (Based on novel) Shûsaku Endô
Produced by (a few)
          Vittorio Cecchi Gori             ---     producer
          Barbara De Fina                  ---     producer
          Randall Emmett                 ---     producer
          David Lee                            ---     producer
          Gastón Pavlovich                ---     producer
          Martin Scorsese                  ---     producer
          Emma Tillinger Koskoff     ---     producer
          Irwin Winkler                      ---     producer
Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto
Film Editing by Thelma Schoonmake
Production Design by Dante Ferretti
          Andrew Garfield          ---        Rodrigues
          Adam Driver                 ---        Garupe
          Liam Neeson                 ---        Ferreira
          Tadanobu Asano          ---        Interpreter
          Ciarán Hinds                 ---        Father Valignano
          Issei Ogata                     ---        Old Samurai / Inoue
          Shin'ya Tsukamoto      ---        Mokichi
          Yoshi Oida                      ---        Ichizo
          Yôsuke Kubozuka       ---        Kichijiro 
          Kaoru Endô                   ---        Unzen Samurai
          Nana Komatsu              ---        Monica (Haru)
          Ryo Kase                         ---        João (Chokichi)
          Takahiro Fujita             ---        Inoue's Attendant
          Béla Baptiste                 ---        Dieter Albrecht
          Asuka Kurosawa          ---        Rodrigues' Wife

No comments:

Post a Comment