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Leslie's Movie Reviews (23)

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Silence (2016) 
'Silence is Golden'
4/4 stars

Martin Scorsese’s use of nature fuels his latest film "Silence," which follows the journey of two priests (Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield) into an unfamiliar land. They have traveled to Japan in search of another priest (Liam Neeson) who by all accounts has renounced his Christian faith. The film takes place during a time of persecution, when Christians are forced by an inquisitor (Issey Ogata) to denounce Jesus Christ by stepping on an engraved plaque bearing his likeness, or face torture and death.

My favorite scene is the one in which Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Neeson) reveals how nature, specifically the sun, played a role in the villagers’ understanding of the priests’ message of Jesus Christ. It is wonderfully backlit and suggests the use of natural light, and when Father Ferreira points up at the sky, the camera zooms in for an extreme close-up of the yellow blazing ball of fire. The sun appears powerfully radiant. It’s the same sun that has the power to expose the priests in hiding if they dare to step out of their huts. Water is no less forgiving, quenching Sebastião Rodrigues’ (Garfield) thirst from a stream one moment, and punishing Christian villagers being tortured the next moment. Scorsese shows that just as God can seem silent in response to the prayers of the suffering, nature too can seem to display a similar indifference.


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