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Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds, Liam Neeson
Four stars (out of five)
Silence might well be his most personal statement yet, and in a filmography of highly visceral, violent and technically superb masterpieces, it stands out for its quietly contemplative and effortless artistry. It’s as if a lifetime of devotion to the cinematic craft has been spent in the service of this profoundly touching exploration of the nature of faith and religion.
Adapted from Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel, it is a true passion project, having been in development for almost 30 years, and yet somehow it couldn’t feel more timely. Set in 17th century Japan, where Christianity has been outlawed, the story tells of two young Portuguese missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) searching for their missing teacher (Liam Neeson), who is thought to have apostatised, or renounced his beliefs, under torture.
Every element falls precisely into place, the two leads and supporting cast are outstanding, the photography is beautiful and evoking, and the pace is unhurried and meditative. It is also not an easy watch, raising a multitude of deep and troubling theological questions that no mere movie could possibly answer.
- Jeremy Quinn