Movie Review: Silence

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Movies ・MLA ・3 Sources

Martin Scorsese and Silence (2016)

Martin Scorsese is the director of this 161-minute movie, which was made in color by eight different companies: Sharpwood Films, Al Film, Emmett\/Furla\/Oasis Films, CatchPlay, IM Global, Verdi Productions, YKL Sikelia, and Fabrica de Cine. Paramount Pictures handled the film's distribution. It was published on December 23, 2016, in the United States. Father Sebastian Rodrigues, a Jesuit priest, is portrayed by Andrew Garfield, Father Francisco Garupe, a second Jesuit priest, by Adam Driver, Father Alessandro Valignano, by Ciaran Hinds, and Father Cristóvo Ferreira, the priests' mentor, by Liam Neeson in the film Silence (2016). Silence is a historical movie based on a book by the same name by Shusaku Endo written in 1966 that detailed the spoken history of Catholics in Japan. It focuses on cruelty faced by early missionaries. While discouraging the suppression of minorities, it assesses the merit in attempting to convert people without proper consideration of their culture and convictions.


In 1635, when the movie begins, two Jesuit priests Sebastian Rodrigues and Francesco Garupe seek consent from Father Valignano to go and find Father Cristóvão Ferreira, their mentor who is said to have forsaken his religion and is living with a Japanese wife (Landes, Jeremy). Fully aware of the real possibility of being persecuted as well as the murder of Christian peasants and priests, they nonetheless choose to go in their endeavor to support local Christians and discover the truth concerning Father Ferreira. On arrival, they are greeted by ‘hidden Christians’ also called ‘kakure kirishtan’ who have been forced to reject their faith and hide or risk being turned in for 100 silver pieces. The two priests proceed to hear confessions, baptize and conduct mass at night to avoid detention.

Rodrigues gets separated from Garuppe and he assumes a Christ-like appearance and he starts to view himself as a representation of Christ. He now faces the dilemma of remaining rigid in his beliefs or saving guiltless lives by surrendering himself to the Inquisitor (Issei Ogata), an act equivalent to forsaking his faith. This makes him reflect upon a convert who continually begged for the Sacrament of Penance over and over again after apostasy. The reality of Father Ferreira’s situation soon becomes clear.


Western Japan was introduced to Christianity and gunpowder in 1542 by Jesuit Missionaries from Portugal. The weapons they brought were more accepted than their religion but people were given freedom to worship. Missionary intolerance of Buddhism and Shinto religions combined with rumors of Japanese people being sent into slavery sparked animosity that resulted in Christianity being banned. In the 1630’s, Christianity was totally banned and enforcement done with the Tokugawa Shogunate enforcing persecutions, torture, and murder. In the movie, the characters of both the priests and local Japanese are real and the events described actual historical facts. The Jesuits mission describes the events in the movie Silence as ‘The True Story of the Jesuits in Japan’ (Yu, Doris). Therefore it is correct to confirm that the movie correctly represents the reality of what transpired in Japan in those early years.


The movie is a great recommendation for anyone who is keen to inquire into a topic that has challenged philosophers and scholars for a long time. Despite not being a spiritual epic, the film exposes the inability of both secular material and fundamentalist religion to fulfill spiritual requirements and answer the film's ultimate question. The motivation to abandon faith remains real for many people today. In a way, it is only individual experience that can offer the ultimate solution to knowing God. For me, ‘quietness' provides an opportunity to understand the true nature of God.

Works Cited

""Silence (2016)"". Imdb, 2017,

Landes, Jeremy. ""Silence (2016) …Review And/Or Viewer Comments • Christian Spotlight On The Movies • Christiananswers.Net"". Christiananswers.Net, 2017,

Yu, Doris. """"Silence"": The True Story Of The Jesuits In Japan"". Jesuits.Org, 2016,

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