Martin Scorsese’s Silence, or, How to Torture a Jesuit Priest Until He Says, “Ah, Screw It!” and Looks for Another Gig, is the auteur’s most inconsistent offering since his misguided and sloppy Casino. It’s clear that Scorsese has poured his heart into the passion project, which makes it all the more sad that it doesn’t live up to his usual standard.
The movie is far too long, and repetitive to the point where it becomes laughable rather than having the desired effect of moving the viewer. Based on the Shusaku Endo book, and a project Scorsese had been trying to mount since the ’80s, it’s nothing but a colossal waste of a great director’s time. Bored to death is not what I expect to be during a Scorsese offering, but that’s what I was watching Silence.
Two Jesuit priests, Rodrigues and Garrpe (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver), head to Japan in search of their mentor priest, Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Ferreira went missing during a prior mission years ago and is rumored to have gone into hiding as a civilian with a wife. The whole setup feels a bit like Apocalypse Now, minus the excitement, capable storytelling and fat Brando.
There’s a lot of violence as Japanese Christians and the priests are tortured for their beliefs. There’s also a lot of snoring as the proceedings carry on way too long.