Martin Scorcese’s latest is a meditation on faith and will either be found ponderous or thought provoking. Personally I found it to be an incredibly powerful film that asks big questions about faith and religion.
Set in the 17th century Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) is lost to the Christian faith after apparently denouncing God whilst on missionary work in Japan. Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garrpe (Adam Driver) set out on the dangerous mission to find him and spread Christianity in Japan. The 2 hour 40 minute running time uncovers for us the work of missionaries in Japan, the Japanese repression of Christianity and more importantly the individual faith of the priests and God’s silence to their trials. As they become separated the film becomes Garfield’s as Rodrigues faith is tested to its limits.
The film is brilliantly shot with stunning vistas but it is the music or lack of it in places that is most effective. The silence at times is deafening. Driver and Garfield are astounding with their body language playing a major part in conveying their struggles. Ultimately for me where it is most compelling is showing absolute faith and what this means to people. Father Rodrigues story is one of suffering and how he struggles to justify this alongside his belief in God and his faith.