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Silence

Director:  Martin Scorsese
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  3.5

Two Jesuits, Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver), travel to Japan to spread God's word and find out what happened to their mentor, Ferreira (Liam Neeson) ... there, they face nothing but hostility and torment from the xenophobic Tokugawa shogunate (embodied by Issay Ogata's character). Kudos to Scorsese for making a film that feels deliberately out-of-place in modern times - the influence of Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman is unshakeable - as the protagonists constantly do battle with their faith when faced with exceptionally cruel opposition: Garupe is eventually killed while Rodrigues resists until he's finally broken (the same way Ferreira was). There's no question it's an austere, deadly serious work, and even the most patient viewers may find the abuse repetitive and emotionally taxing - it's an endurance test for the audience ... and not exactly a 'fun' journey - and it might have been wise for the script to elaborate further as to why the Japanese responded so harshly to the Catholics instead of labeling them "torturers" and leaving it at that (also, some of Ogata's mannerisms are off-puttingly silly). I don't normally find Andrew Garfield to be a captivating screen presence, but he puts his all into this - same goes for Mr. Scorsese's frequent collaborators (namely Dante Ferretti and Thelma Schoonmaker, along with Rodrigo Prieto).

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