For close to thirty years Martin Scorsese has wanted to bring his passion project, Silence, to the big screen. After years of working on the script, and getting comfortable enough with his own spiritually, he has as succeeded in crafting a gorgeous meditation on the complexities of faith.
Arriving on Blu-ray and Digital HD combo pack today, courtesy of Paramount Home Media Distribution, Silence tells the story of two Portuguese Jesuit priests, Father Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) who travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor, Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Sneaking into the land, as practicing Christianity in any form is outlawed, with the help of their guide Kichijiro (Yōsuke Kubozuka), an alcoholic fisherman whose faith is questionable, Rodrigues and Garupe discover that faith alone might not be enough to survive the foreign and volatile country.
Hiding during the day, and ministering to the faithful at night, the priests feel torn between their mission and those who seek their spiritual guidance. When word of the priests’ presence spreads, they find themselves on the run from Inoue Masashige (Issey Ogata), a law enforcing samurai who is determined to make the men renounce their faith at all costs. This forces Rodrigues and Garupe to question if their faith is more important than the lives of the peasant villagers who follow their teachings.
Anchored by Rodrigo Prieto’s lush cinematography, Silence is a riveting exploration of the strength, flaws, and contradictions that often shape religious faith. Scorsese’s film does not attempt to offer answers for the numerous questions it raises. It merely wants the audience to reflect on their own encounters with faith and the ways religion often becomes misconstrued due to materialism and the ways in which others exploit the interpretation of parables. As Rodrigues exclaims at one point “I worry they value these signs of faith more than faith itself.”
While Garfield and Driver prove that they are more than capable of rising to the expectations that often come with being in a Scorsese film, it is the supporting turns that really steal the show. Yōsuke Kubozuka and Issey Ogata in particular give brilliant performances in the film. Through their vastly different characters, Scorsese is able to show the various sides of the religious conflict without ever becoming preachy.
The Blu-ray combo pack is sparse in terms of special features. The only featurette on the disc is Martin Scorsese’s Journey into Silence, in which Scorsese and those involved discuss various aspects of the production. Aside from Scorsese sharing his long obsession with adapting Shûsaku Endô’s novel, the feature offers some interesting insight on Andrew Garfield’s own spiritual journey while making the film.
Martin Scorsese’s Journey into Silence