In the 1800s, Christianity was banned in Japan, but a group of Portuguese Jesuit priests had established an underground group that was being pursued by the Japanese inquisitor. Ferreira (Liam Neeson) was a mentor priest who went missing, and word returned was that he had given up his faith and now lived in the Japanese way with a wife and child. Disbelieving that this could be true, Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) travel through the country, hidden by believers and secretly preaching and hearing confessions. However, they are constantly tormented by a cruel regime that torture indiscriminately.
It is an absolutely stunning film – very hard to watch in the torturing scenes, but the scenery is stunning, and the depictions of Japan so long ago was beautiful. However, unsurprisingly, I have some issues with the story. I have a real issue with evangelical missionaries who ignore the local culture and religion to preach their own religion. What’s more, what is shown in Silence is that the poor to continue to be oppressed and abused with the belief that the ultimate reward is after death. It is questionable that there is anything they could do about their oppressed position in those times, so perhaps having this belief is some kind of kindness. I don’t know – to me, it raises a lot of issues relating to colonialisation and destruction of culture and oppression. Who’d have thought discussing religion could be tricky?
Silence was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Cinematography.