starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Liam Neeson
screenplay by Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese, based on the novel by Shusaku Endo
directed by Martin Scorsese
by Walter Chaw Martin Scorsese's Silence is Martin Scorsese's Silence. Not Shusaku Endo's Silence. Not Masahiro Shinoda's Chinmoku. Rather than a Japanese perspective, it's told from the perspective of our most notoriously Catholic filmmaker (next to Mel Gibson, but he went to a different church), who, at the end of his life, has found this cap to a trilogy about faith and doubt begun in The Last Temptation of Christ (an adaptation of a novel by Greek author) and Kundun (about the life of the Dalai Lama)--films, each, that explore mystery and land somewhere personal and inherently unknowable, as faith is and should be. It's an essentially Romanticist text, not Humanist like Endo's or doom-laden and progressive like Shinoda's. It's the closest Scorsese's come to truly contemplative since Kundun, and it shares with that film a sense of wonder at the Natural: this Romanticist conceit that the first testament of God is, as it always has been, Nature. Silence is almost a Terrence Malick film in that sense. In every other, it's Scorsese coming to terms with the idea that grace is made manifest only through the actions of its proponents. The title refers not just to the Christian God's notable state when confronted with the unimaginable suffering of His children, but also to Scorsese's own idea of what God wants from His followers. It's not thoughts and prayers in the face of tragedy. Maybe it's humility. Maybe it's service. Or maybe it's just silence..