*** ½ out of four
Silence is a movie about religious and inner faith. Not to worry, it's not a Kirk Cameron Christ Crispy abomination, but a powerful drama from master filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Raging Bull).
The film, based on the 1966 novel by Shūsaku Endō, is set in the 17th-century and concerns two Jesuit priests, Father Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), who trek from Portugal to Japan to find their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) and also spread the words of Christianity. Japan of that time was not too keen on Catholicism and attempted to purge it through torture and execution. The movie centers on Rodrigues, his capture, and the physical and mental torture he goes through in an effort to get him to renounce his faith.
Scorsese has often explored his Catholic religion in his pictures, but not as deeply intense as he does both here and in 1988's The Last Temptation of Christ. In that film, Jesus (Willem Dafoe), while nailed to the cross, is tempted by Satan to live a happy, normal life instead of being crucified for humanity's sins. To Scorsese, staying true to one's faith is a hard, ongoing battle, and by the end of Silence, you feel exhausted yet illuminated.