Martin Scorsese is a director like no other, a master filmmaker who’s remained relevant over nearly five decades of filmmaking. After nearly half a century of pushing the boundaries of the industry, Scorsese delivers what may be his most personal film to date, a towering exploration of faith in crisis. Silence is one of the most emotionally challenging films of Scorsese’s career, and as a passion project it’s one of the most compelling takes on the pursuit of faith.
Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) are two 17th Century Jesuit priests who embark on a mission to Japan to find their mentor Father Ferreria (Liam Neeson), a veteran priest who’s denounced God in the face of the Japanese persecution of Christians. As Rodrigues discovers the level of hatred targeted at Christians and those who share the faith, he not only must choose the best path to protect those who share his beliefs, but face God’s silence during the midst of suffering.
There is nothing about Silence that is easy, be it’s unflinching portrayal of brutality or its questions that all must ask of themselves. But it’s a powerful film on a monumental level, one that’s compels attention across its nearly three hour runtime and makes the audience feel for every moment, every choice, and every sacrifice its characters make. Garfield delivers what is undoubtably the performance of the year and of his career, but make no mistake, this is Scorsese’s film. Across a decade of masterpieces, Scorsese has made what may be his most complex film to date, a staggering and unmitigated classic. Grade: A+