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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Silence (2016)

In 17th century Japan, two Portuguese priests (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) go to Japan to locate their mentor (Liam Neeson) who they fear has committed apostasy after being tortured during Japan's "cleansing" of Christians from their culture. Based on the novel by Shusaku Endo, Martin Scorsese's latest film may be the most austere look at religious faith since Bresson's DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST. One has to admire Scorsese for his commitment to making this obvious labor of love since it has no commercial (as in box office) value whatsoever. It questions faith and one's commitment to one's faith. Does God really want us to suffer for our faith when we have the ability to alleviate that suffering? How do we deal with God's silence? Are we arrogant to march into another culture and tell them their Gods are false and ours is the true God? What does martyrdom achieve? While ultimately the film comes down on the side of faith, the challenges it proposes are valid. At 2 hours and 40 minutes, that's a lot of suffering to sit through and like SCHINDLER'S LIST and 12 YEARS A SLAVE, frankly it's not a film I'd care to sit through again. Kudos to Rodrigo Prieto's (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) handsome if bleak cinematography. With Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds and Issey Ogata.

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