‘Silence’: Review

Is there anything to be said for saying another mass?


Martin Scorsese was evidently a big believer in this Father Ted quote. I won a pair of tickets to the preview screening of Scorsese’s latest vision, Silence, through the fabulous crowd at Eason and little did I know that I would be thanking the lord baby Jesus himself when the credits rolled almost three hours after I sat down.

Having inexplicably sat on the script for Silence since the late 80s, there were definite Passion of the Christ vibes in this Scorsese epic from the beginning. Portuguese Jesuit priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man) and Francisco Garrpe (Adam Driver, The Force Awakens) volunteer to go on a mission to Japan in the early 17th century to spread the word of the Lord and bring back Liam Neeson’s character Fr. Cristóvão Ferreira as he had been, ah, taken who is surprised here, because it’s certainly not me.


a series of erraticism courtney from the internet
silence: A review (sort of)

The lads do more mass than featured in the entirety of the three Father Ted seasons, as in typical Scorsese fashion the montage elements of the film were at least 15 minutes long. Garfield looked remarkably like Jesus which became a pivotal plot point that featured a 17th Century Snapchat-esque faceswap in a lake while Driver was still emulating Kylo Ren-moodiness, sans lightsaber.

Perhaps my cynicism towards Silence comes from having a Catholic upbringing and spending years and years trying to avoid going to mass as much as possible which would explain why this film felt a little bit like all those missed masses coming together at once. Admittedly, the first hour was really immersive – Garfield and Driver submerging themselves in Japanese culture at the height of Christian persecution while trying to retain the faith amongst those who had turned away from Buddhism was fascinating, and heartbreaking in a lot of ways. Silence neither painted Christianity in a particularly favourable light nor vilified Buddhism, which was a plus point.

There are Biblical undertones throughout the whole film, with Kichijiro (Yôsuke Kubozuka) acting as everyday Judas, though his character served to highlight the side of Christianity that is not obsessed with not doing wrong, but the side that believes that God allows his people to save themselves and ask for forgiveness later. Kubozuka’s character, though adding a comedic value that may or may not have been intentionally hilarious but a packed giant theatre near-full of Catholics were ready to laugh at any tension break made a valid point throughout, emphasising the less self-flagellating aspects of Christianity.

In all honesty, everything was going fine until Jesus started audibly talking to a hungry, thirsty and tired Garfield. He had two sorry, three  such episodes and yet his hair, which realistically went unwashed for the lightyears the film spanned did I mention it was THREE HOURS LONG?, remained lusciously wavy whether perched atop his head or cascading down the sides of his face. Really want to know what they used in 17th Century Japan because it really was a Look. At that point, I started to lose sight of the point of the film. Driver and Garfield often discussed their mission, but futile attempts were made to find poor, taken Neeson.

Priests: Have you seen this lad?

Villager: Yeah I have!

Priests: Deadly! Where?

Villager: An immeasurably irrelevant time long ago.


I expect with the buzz around this film that individuals not of Christian faith past or present will also venture along to see it and I would love to hear reactions when that happens. I found it hard to remain engaged or sympathetic for either priest when to me and probably to most, the atrocities befalling the Japanese were directly caused by the attempts to spread Christianity everywhere. It’s harrowing to realise that religious persecution is a historically recurrent event that we have yet to learn from, though my main takeaway from this film apart from Neeson being Neeson and refusing to even attempt English-in-a-Portuguese-accent was that Buddhism was not always necessarily the kind, peaceful religion I always believed it was. It took me about a week to get over the three hours of mass thing but after sleeping on it seriously sleeping on it  there were definitely redeeming features and I would almost recommend the film if it were just a tad bit shorter.



link to Silence trailer



Also as an aside: If you follow my blog and you’ve noticed a distinct lack of Blogmas posts….. I can’t even apologise but I can try to make it up between now and Sunday….

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