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Friday
Jan062017

Silence (2016)

I haven't read Shūsaku Endō's book Silence, but Martin Scorsese and co-writer Jay Cocks' film adaptation is one of the most satisfying faith studies I've seen. Don't worry, fellow skeptics: the movie deals specifically with Christianity, but the themes explored here apply just as easily to politics, romantic relationships, and good, ol'-fashioned existential dread. Scorsese structures his ride as a filmic tour of birth, middle-age, and death, chronicling the bright-eyed, Jesus-loving optimism of two Portuguese priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) whose search for a vanished mentor (Liam Neeson) in 17th century Buddhist Japan leads to treachery, imprisonment, and torture--ending in a world-shattering crisis of belief. Some may balk at the filmmakers' decision to inject a literal God into the movie (Spoiler?), but one of Silence's greatest strengths lies in ambiguity: Is the Almighty an external, shaping force, or is He the collective imagination of our own judgmental, fallen selves?

 Check out Kicking the Seat Podcast #183 for a positively reverent discussion of Silence with Keeping it Reel's David Fowlie!

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