In the current world a third of the population consider themseves to be Christian. In modern Japan the christian population stands at 2 million which is about 1%. Considering that Christianity is the most followed religion it seems strange that Christianity hasn’t reached Japan in a bigger way. Budhism and Shinto are the most followed religions although modern day Japanese are not strict followers and only really take religion on special occasions.
I start like this because Silence is about the spread of Christianity in Japan. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play Portuguese priests searching for father Ferreira who is believed to have turned his back on christianity. The two priests hope that they find Father Ferreira still in the cloth and still dedicated to God. They take a Japanese man with them to guide them. He reminds me of Golem because is a snivelling wretch of a man, with no back bone and little faith. Not the best guide, but a major part of the story.
The priests arrive in a village and are greeted as gods by the christian community. The community are at great risk as they are persecuted in Japan and risk their lives following the religion. The two priests have to hide away and hold secret sermons hoping to spread the word. They are awaiting information on their friend, which comes after time.
They part ways in order to stay safe from the leaders. Each time their guide betrays them before asking forgiveness. You see the leading christians suffer great pain as they refuse to turn their back on god. This creates great turmoil for the priests as they see followers suffer while they hide away. It is not long before Andrew Garfields character is caught and pushed to extremes in order to rock his faith. He finds his friend father Ferreira who tries to show him that Japan will not accept Christianity. I will not spoil the ending, but you see who comes out on top.
This is a great film although slow at first. Andrew Garfield is brilliant here and looks like he has a great year in film coming up.The cinematography is beautiful and the scenes are wonderful. The suffering seen is not over the top, but it is hard hitting. I am not religious although I have a great deal of respect for religion. I dont understand the importance of spreading the word to the point of death and suffering. You cannot force people to believe in a religion and cannot tell them their belief is wrong. I think religion is personal to you and for you to follow without placing pressure on others. I imagine many think differently. I love a film that makes you think and this is cetainly a film that does that.
Martin Scorsese has made many great films. This film shows that he is not all about the Gangster genre and can make beautiful films, without extreme violence and a film that makes you question and think. I think nominations if not awards will follow this film over the next few months.