Silence is intended for a Christian audience and those interested in the subject matter, but as for the Christians, Silence is a misfire.
Silence hinges on some pretty brutal subject matter and a response to it, the persecution of people of faith.
Jesuit priests from Portugal and with the Christian locals face unrelenting persecution in Japan during the 16th century. In Japan of then Christianity was outlawed.
One may think Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man), Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Liam Neeson (Taken) were not a good fit for a religious drama. The three actors don’t play your everyday ordinary Catholic priest down the road.
There are crucial moments where they are in the shadows of faith and are more inclined to be temperamental than devoted. The persecution tests their mettle.
Scenes of persecution, violent and cruel, are carefully orchestrated by the Japanese torturers, who are determined to elicit the intended response, which is a renouncement of Christian faith.
The persecutors have their techniques and methods. The scenes of persecution are actually eye opening if we thought methods of persecution were simple.
Mostly the Japanese are efficacious, or they get what they want. Sometimes their designs are thwarted, but ultimately they are determined to induce a denial of faith of the key surviving Christians and this becomes increasingly plausible.
Compare Gregory Peck in Keys to the Kingdom. That film came out in the 1940’s, but back then priests were more convincing, they were solid, faithful, genuine priests, who withstood hardship.
The film is dedicated to the Christians and pastors of Japan. But what are they being told to ruminate on? That for the good of others they can have a Christian faith without speaking about it. This is not what Jesus told his disciples. Therefore, Silence is more like a denial of faith than an affirmation. As drama intended for Christians, Silence is a misfire, because Christians are told to hang in there and not give up on their faith even for the world.
Silence, Director: Martin Scorsese, Genre: Drama, Year: 2016, Rating: 5/10