Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Silence is Martin Scorsese's final testimony of faith

Movie Title:    Silence

Grade:  A-

Rating:  R, 161 minutes

In a Nutshell: 
Based on Shusaku Endo's novel, legendary director Martin Scorsese offers a passionate look at faith and devotion, which he said was twenty years in the making.

This is not your typical Christian movie.

Christianity in Japan in the 1600’s was illegal and dangerous.   I’m going to Japan this summer and am grateful that I will be welcome there, along with my religious convictions.  

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Christianity brought love.” – Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield)
  • “My love for God is strong.  Could that be the same as faith?” – Mokichi (Shin'ya Tsukamoto)
  • “What have I done for Christ?  What am I doing for Christ?  What will I do for Christ?” – Father Rodrigues

Things I liked:
  • The film asks very profound questions about religious conviction and faith.  How much would you still believe after you had been broken?  When do you stop fighting for your beliefs and just resign to being silent? What do you do when God himself remains silent?  The story and questions are both complex and challenging.  The film is not just a persecution allegory about what once happened in a time and place long ago, but it still has application to today.
  • Adam Driver’s Portuguese accent is very good and believable, but Andrew Garfield’s is terrible.   Sorry The Amazing Spider-Man  Otherwise, both of their performances were really great. Despite all of his character's struggles in the film, Andrew Garfield's great hair remains.  ha ha  What an amazing year Andrew Garfield had in the movies this past year!  His starring role in Hacksaw Ridge  
  • The production value is excellent.  While the target audience is predominantly either Christians or Scorsese fans, this movie is unlike any other Christian movie you have seen.  
  • Fantastic title.  I love titles of movies that have multiple meanings.
  • I liked the effect that the loud crickets had when they suddenly stopped in the very beginning and end of the film.
  • Some of the faith demonstrated by the Japanese Christians was truly inspiring and absolutely heart-breaking.
  • The direction was impressive, especially considering many of the scenes were shot in tiny spaces.
Things I didn’t like:
  • The movie poster is misrepresented.  You think you're going to get to see a movie starring Liam Neeson, but he has less than 10 minutes of screen time.
  • This is a VERY long movie that makes you relate a little bit to the LONG suffering experienced in the film.  The powerful message could have been delivered in much less the time.
  • Deep spiritual questions are raised, but not often answered. The audience is left wondering what Scorsese's true message is.
  • It's hard and painful to watch.  You just want the suffering to end.  Either that or you just want to kick the Old Samurai Inquisitor's butt.

Interesting lines:
  • “Garupe and I have absolutely no luggage to bring to Japan except our hearts.” – Father Rodrigues
  • “Feed my lambs.  It fascinates me.” – Father Rodrigues
  • “But Christ did not die for the good and beautiful; that is easy enough. The hard thing is to die for the miserable and corrupt.”  - Father Rodrigues
  • “God sends us trials to test us, and everything He does is good. But why must their trials be so terrible?  And why, when I look into their eyes, must my answers to their questions be so weak?” – Father Rodrigues
  • “I’m sure God heard their prayers as they died, but did He hear their screams?” – Father Rodrigues
  • “Where is the place for a weak man in a world like this?” – Interpreter (Tadanobu Asano)
  • “Why do they have to suffer so much?” –Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield)

Funny lines:
  • NONE.  This is a very serious drama.

Tips for parents: 
  • You see decapitated heads on stakes at the very beginning just to warn you that you’re watching a Rated R movie.  It gets much, much worse.
  • Brutal torture of Christians, including burning people at the stake, beheading, hot water torture, drownings, and beatings. Like most Scorsese films, it's violent and cruel, definitely not family-friendly fare.

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