Martin Scorsese wrote his first script for Silence almost 30 years ago and he has finally made a film that is intense, wonderfully acted and displays beautiful cinematography.

In mid to late1600s in Japan, Jesuit priest Father Ferreira (played by Liam Neeson) has been captured by a man known as the Inquisitor for introducing Japanese villages to Christianity, a religion that has been forbidden in the country.

Word has finally gotten back to Portugal that Ferreira has renounced his faith, so priests Rodrigues (played by Andrew Garfield) and Garrpe (played by Adam Driver) volunteer to go to Japan to find their mentor.

Rodrigues and Garrpe find a Japanese guide named Kichijiro (played by Yôsuke Kubozuka) who smuggles them from Macau in China into a coastal village near Nagasaki in Japan.

Once ashore the Priests find themselves overcome by Japanese Christians who want them to lend their services and give them confession. All of this they must do at night so as not to attract attention of the Inquisitor (played by Issy Ogata) or his officials.

The Inquisitor soon learns that the priests are in Japan, which leads to torture and suffering for the villagers and eventually the capture of both priests. The treatment of the two Priests varies significantly with Garrpe soon perishing in a strong show of faith.

From here, Scorsese tells the story in an extremely intimate tone, with an inner monologue used to reflect the internal conflict and flood of emotion from Rodrigues as he witnesses persecution and extreme brutality against Christian followers.

While imprisoned, Rodrigues gets counselled by Ferreira and ultimately Rodrigues chooses to save the Christian faithful by renouncing his faith.

This is a beautifully filmed movie, however the intensity does make the movie seem rather long and drawn out and it could have benefitted from a faster paced script. 

Words by Peter Lamont

Image by Silence

Details: Silence | 2hr 41min | in cinemas from 22 December 2016