In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests (Garfield and Driver) travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor (Neeson), who is rumored to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Catholicism. Unfortunately, Christianity is outlawed in feudal Japan and when both men are captured, they must learn to endure torture and hardship or risk losing their Faith altogether. This film is the result of a 28 year passion project by the famed director Martin Scorsese and some critics are calling it his best work yet.
2016, Color, 1080p, Rated R
DTS-MA 5.1, 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio, 2 hours and 41 minutes
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Scorsese has been trying to make this movie for years’ as it has been a topic he has been passionate about but never had the time to devote to its production until now. The cast and the acting are excellent, with special kudos to Garfield, who recently did an outstanding job playing the main character in Hacksaw Ridge. (Yes, I know about Spiderman). He is becoming one of Hollywood’s best actors these days. I love Neeson, but his 15 minutes of screen time in this film could have been filled by almost anyone, though he does carry a certain gravitas.
The cinematography is sumptuous and the questions raised about ones Faith and how far you would go to keep it are thought provoking and powerful. That said, at almost 3 hours in length, I found much of the slowly developing narration to be a bit repetitive and too drawn out. Some of the lingering torture scenes made me a bit uneasy as well.
In the end, the movie was a marathon of endurance for the viewer and when the credits rolled at the conclusion, I felt depressed. It was like watching a documentary on prison camps or more ironically a film about the Spanish Inquisition. This is not a happy, feel good movie. It did, however, make me wonder about my Faith and how far I would go before I might renounce it to save my skin (or someone else I loved). Then again, not all stories about human endurance are pleasant and tidy in the end.
Though it was a tough film to watch and perhaps a bit too long in the telling, I recommend seeing this compelling story (whether you are Catholic or not) because it was a story worth telling and one we don’t see much of these days. It may challenge you.
Shot on 35mm stock and with an Arri Alexa in 4K, the picture looks very natural and film-like. The colors are beautiful to behold with a slightly bluish push during the rainy costal scenes and warmer colors during the imprisonment scenes. Details are crisp and flesh tones are natural. Surrounds help portray the vast outdoors, though the sub does not get used often. Dialog is clear and subtitles are easy to read.
Not much here. Martin Scorsese’s Journey into Silence.