6 Reasons Why Scorsese’s Silence Is Worth the 30-Year Wait
Nearly three decades ago, Martin Scorsese purchased the rights to Japanese author Shūsaku Endō’s novel Silence, which follows two Jesuit priests from Portugal on a quest in 17th-century Japan. After reading the book on a train to Kyoto, Scorsese fell in love with the story of man’s connection to faith in the face of great persecution and was inspired to make a film exploring this spiritual conflict. Over the past 30 years, Scorsese has fought unceasingly for this namesake passion project, working through arduous script-rewrites and relentless legal battles even as he stockpiled Oscar nods for other hits, including a win for The Departed.
Like some of Scorsese’s past projects, namely Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ, Silence explores Christianity in dark and complex ways, centering on the physical and spiritual journey of Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) as they attempt to rescue their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Ferreira’s been captured by the Japanese government after introducing Christianity to Japanese villagers post-Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising in southwestern Japan that began in 1637 and was fueled in part by the countrywide prohibition of Christianity. (After the rebellion, this prohibition was strictly enforced.)
The film will open nationwide January 13, after having premiered in New York and L.A. on December 23. And there’s already Oscar buzz around the project — for Scorsese’s directing, Garfield’s performance, its screenplay, and editing. Here, we break down six reasons why Silence has taken nearly three decades to bring to life, and why it’s more than worth the wait.