7.22 h 41 min2016R
Two Christian missionaries who face the ultimate test of faith, travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor during a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden.
Martin Scorcese
Andrew GarfieldAdam DriverTadanobu Asano
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Ciaran HindsLiam Neeson
Martin ScorseseEmma Tillinger KoskoffRandall EmmettBarbara De FinaGaston PavlovichIrwin WinklerVittorio Cecchi GoriDale A. BrownMatthew J. MalekManu GargiKen KaoDan KaoNiels JuulChad A. VerdiGianni NunnariLen BlavatnikAviv Giladi
Critically Acclaimed
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languageviolence
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4.4 out of 5 stars

3259 global ratings

  1. 67% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Chris RauReviewed in the United States on January 21, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Challenge yourself and be rewarded
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I first read Endo Shusaku’s novel Silence (Chinmoku) in English while studying abroad in Japan. Several years later and still living there, I had acquired enough skill to read it in its original Japanese. This book and I go way back and I even wrote a lengthy paper in grad school hypothesizing about faith and it’s different cultural manifestations by using Endo’s encapsulation of the struggle of Christianity in Japan as a basis. I didn’t even know Scorsese had put this to film until scrolling through my Amazon Prime account and seeing it. It was a bit shocking to see something so near to my heart being redone by one of the most famous living directors and featuring a top shelf cast.

The film is true to the novel and is centered by Andrew Garfield’s performance. Though aware of him as an actor, I am now an admirer of his for his dedicated portrayal of Father Rodrigues. This is not an easy role to play but Garfield seems to have inhabited the character and what we see is a sometimes goofy, sometimes offputting, and oft times inspirational performance. He brought proper gravitas to the character so that when we finally encounter Father Ferreira again, Garfield’s interaction with him is believably heartbreaking.

Silence explores the lengths some people will go to pursue their faith while also introducing a very Japanese form of doubt into the mix. The balance is lucid and eye opening - we see the conflict play out in Garfield’s performance but we also take away the profound depth of thought that the film used in the unraveling of its protagonist. This is the gift of Silence. It enriches our intellectual rigor around our own existence. It’s not easy to watch but carries the weight of true art as it stays with you and adds depth to your reflections afterward.

Kudos to Scorsese for not pulling punches. Despite what your own belief system may be, he doesn’t shy away from showing the nobility of the struggle of the Japanese priests and peasants to practice their own set of beliefs, while simultaneously calling into question the apparent futility of it. Is there a better summary of what it is to be human than that?
151 people found this helpful
David E. BaldwinReviewed in the United States on April 9, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Inarguably the Best Picture of 2016
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If you thought Martin Scorsese would go into his twilight years resting on past successes this film will make you think again. "Silence" is a film of immense power and depth that will make one examine your long held beliefs. Scorsese posits here the idea that it is much easier to sacrifice oneself for your faith but is it conscionable to sacrifice others for your convictions? This is not an easy film to watch but compelling nonetheless. When the film concludes its title garners meaning and resonance. Enough cannot be said about Andrew Garfield as Father Rodrigues, an idealistic missionary sent to feudal Japan to investigate claims of persecution against Christians. I couldn't help but contrast his work here to his equally fine performance in Mel Gibson's "Hacksaw Ridge" as Desmond Doss, a religious conscientious objector who served valiantly as a medic in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Both characters find their faith tested who ultimately make fateful choices. Liam Neeson is terrific as Father Ferrera the enigmatic mentor of Rodrigues who preceded him to Japan whose choices ultimately influence the younger cleric. The film leaves you asking yourself what would you do if confronted with a gut wrenching choice and life leaves no easy answers.
172 people found this helpful
RMurray847Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Challenging but oh so worthwhile exploration of faith
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SILENCE is a film you need to steel yourself to watch. You should not just throw this on at a whim. It's 2 hours and 40 minutes, and it is not exactly briskly paced. It is challenging intellectually (and perhaps spiritually, which it is meant to be), and isn't "fun" to watch. But it rewards careful, thoughtful viewing. Martin Scorsese often deals in religious themes...either directly or not, but this film is in many ways his most direct look at FAITH. What does it mean to hold on to your faith in the most difficult of circumstances, particularly when God isn't answering your most fervent prayers? Does that sound like a fun topic to spend so much time with? No? But again, come prepared to watch and listen and with an open mind...and you may be rewarded.

I am not religious (but have belonged to churches in the past), and I don't want anyone thinking that I feel this movie will "make" you religious or faithful. But even if you are not, surely you can acknowledge that faith IS important to many. This film is set in the 17th century, and follows two young priests who bravely travel to Japan, a country that is dangerously hostile to Christians. And in this "unenlightened" time, belief in God and the redemption offered by Jesus was serious business. Even if you are someone who scorns religion in our day and time...please recall the context of the film.

The two priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) live in terror of discovery. For capture is likely to mean torture and possibly death...but even more dreadful for these frightened but sincere young men is the notion that they may be driven to renounce their faith. That in the end, they will give up their very souls because they won't have the strength to do otherwise.

The film explores this notion to a great degree (arguably perhaps just a bit repetitively). If you renounce your faith to save yourself or others...will you truly be damned? Can you keep your relationship with God even if you have renounced him to the world? Can such apostacy be forgiven? (There is a Japanese character in the film who continuously renounces his faith and then confesses his sins and is forgiven. Is this actually a viable survival strategy?) Anyway, the film grapples with tough topics and in typical Scorsese fashion, does not shy away from gruesome details (although he has done far, far more graphic work). I won't tell you more plot details...I'm really just trying to convey that this is a film that takes on some big issues and does not offer easy answers.

Garfield is quite credible in his role, and Adam Driver makes an excellent counterpart to him. Driver, in particular, very much looks the role. Be warned, Liam Neeson is hardly in the film. His character looms large, but is only seen for a few minutes. The film features much gorgeous scenery (I saw it on Blu Ray...highly recommended.) Everything about it is immaculate, in typical Scorsese fashion. The sound is wonderful, the costumes detailed and convincing. I recommend the film...but again, with a strong warning to give it the attention it is due. There is no "multi-tasking" allowed while watching, unless you want to just be bored by the film. It asks to you to participate in mulling over the big issues it presents. Reward yourself by going along on that journey.

And if you ARE religious, I think you'll find your faith challenged. Not your belief in God and in the "rightness" of your belief...but you'll be asking strong is my faith? Were I to face a similar circumstance, how would I respond? This film is NOT sacrilegious (although it is strongly Catholic)...don't worry about that. But it asks you direct, uncomfortable questions.

SILENCE is an immersive, lovely and challenging film.
44 people found this helpful
AnonymiceReviewed in the United States on November 5, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Worst Scorsese Movie EVER, his Passion
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This is Scorcese's Passion of the Christ. Not sure I have ever seen a Scorses I am an American Buddhist, practicing from the Zen and Vipassana schools. Just like the evil Japanese caricatures, Buddhism is thrown in as the evil, pagan causation vs the Catholic Church. I am very shocked that Scorsese gave absolutely no context for Japanese Buddhism in the 17th century, and how they came to crucify people (there was no capital punishment in Japan before crucifying was suggested and taught by Catholic priests in the 16th century; whose word, exactly, is "inquisition"?). The Japanese had heard of the Spanish/Portuguese invasion of the Americas and were terrified the same would happen to them (and it would have). There is no sun god (as in male), nor equivalent to Jesus in Shinto or Buddhism, as "Dainichi" in the movie, who is actually a warrior/fire Japanese folk god, later brought into Japanese Buddhism. How did that get messed up? I think it shows Scorsese's own issues and lack of knowledge of his subject. Buddhism has no deities, and has no monotheistic, separate-from-human deities that can be compared to Christianity, etc. God is not the focus of Buddhism, nor is heaven (except in those who adhere to the buddha Goddess in Pure Land Buddhism. I am definitely no scholar but it seems I know more than Scorsese.

The Inquisitor guy sounds like a bad caricature from an old WWII movie. So insulting, so B movie evil. Most other roles are similarly stereotyped. Laughable accents and peasants who are dirty, ragged, and uneducated, but can speak perfect English (there are no subtitled Japanese scenes, or very few). This movie is SLOW. I can watch even a muddled Scorsese movie like The Aviator, time and time again, because of the amazing performances and depth of characters he gets, plus the vibrancy of his period films (and even modern ones), but this one is just, well, like watching the Spanish Inquisition over and over. There is no Scorsese-like scenery (this is gorgeous Japan!), just rain, mud, blood, and more mud. I know, I know, he was going for the hell on Earth thing, but almost 3hrs of it? Totally ironic that the inquisition specialists, esp of newly conquered peoples, was the church of these same priests. Even in movies which illustrate that, there are always sympathetic priests (The Mission) and of course not all priests were evil or did the Church's bidding. But there are NO sympathetic Japanese or Buddhist people here. How one sided can you get (oh yeah, The Passion...)? I have not read the book, so have no idea how much he incorporated it. I can't imagine much, although the 5star reviews swear it is. I can't stand Tom Cruise, but I'd rather watch The Last Samurai 18 times than this. At least it was well done and tried to fix stereotypes. It will be a while before I watch a new Scorsese movie again, and will certainly read the reviews first.
26 people found this helpful
Paul BulgerReviewed in the United States on December 1, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Rewarding Endurance Test, Though Not Particularly Enjoyable
I'm not sure what to make of the fact that Scorsese spent 25 years of his life to finally get this made. It's certainly not the kind of multi-decade passion project I would expect to come from him.

Silence is a brilliant, and quietly thrilling film, in pieces. It's a test of endurance, but deeply rewarding for those who can patiently soak it in. Though it's difficult to imagine it has an audience anywhere to be found outside Scorsese's dedicated cinephilic followers, seeing as it will probably be mistaken as an insult to the religious, or for proselytizing to the non religious, to which it is neither. Scorsese is not intending to superimpose any religion, or lack of religion onto anybody, but instead, his vision is more cutting, and deeply human.

Scorsese's vision is not to simply make known his own religious preferences (if anything, Silence will only make his religious preferences more opaque), but instead, he's more fascinated with exploring the question of faith, what it means to those who have it, what it does to those who have it, and what they're willing to endure to live out their faith in the face of impossible adversity.

While I can't say I enjoyed it, and I can't say I'm excited to ever watch it again, I still genuinely admired it, and I'm a bit saddened it will probably never find an audience.
137 people found this helpful
GinaReviewed in the United States on December 17, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
and what it means to live a good life are human ones
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Based on the novel by Shusaku Endo, himself a Japanese Catholic, about the persecution to near eradication of Christian belief in 17th century Japan. However it isn't completely a religious story. The themes of sacrifice, what loyalty means, and what it means to live a good life are human ones. It also illuminates a little known historical story. I was afraid that the technical perfection of Endo's narrative wouldn't translate well to film, but I think they've done it.
25 people found this helpful
Styler BReviewed in the United States on January 6, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Movie well represents the book by Shusako Endo "Silence."
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Living in Japan, I can understand well the underlying message of this movie. Japan and its people have always strived to maintain and hang on to their traditions. The Last Samarai is a prime example of this. So when missionaries came into Japan with Christianity they immediately saw that as a threat to change their people, their traditions and culture. In that time period anyone bringing a threat into their country were enemies in their eyes. I'm familiar with the book Silence and author Shusako Endo and he is an outstanding author. I'm also a Christian and as a Christian can understand that the missionaries are being asked to deny their faith. So stepping on the picture of Christ meant to them that the ones enacting this act were, in fact, denying their faith. It's a great story and very well directed and produced by Martin Scorcese, as well as a great cast of actors!
21 people found this helpful
JeriameReviewed in the United States on December 14, 2018
2.0 out of 5 stars
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You’ll not read about Protestant missionaries who recanted- The Roman Catholic Church may have those who had knowledge of God and tried to earn their faith, but a true relationship with Christ is much different.

As difficult as the torture was, God would never tell a saint to deny Him just to save the temporary lives of others. Jesus Himself said “be not afraid of those who can kill the body and do no more...”

Doing slavish acts of piety to earn His immeasurable Grace is futile. We will do good and point others to the Truth as a result of being born again (from the Spirit) by our faith in His life, death, and ressurection- which HE initiated in our lives and NOT the other way around. The human manifestation of the church has no jurisdiction over a person’s soul- this is by God’s Sovereign Election alone (John 1:13)- and this is revealed in our space/time/matter universe by actions we take and decisions we make.

God saves us, we don’t work for anything to earn that. He chose us before Creation of the Universe itself.

Christ reminds us all "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world. That is why the world hates you" (Jn 15:18-19).
And, He warns us as recorded in Matthew chapter 24 "then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me... ...because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm will be saved".

The Holy Spirit through Paul reminds us "We do not grieve as the rest of mankind does, with no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." (1Thes. 4:13-14)

Thankfully, the portrayal here is the exception- many faithful and truly heroic men and women- who agreed with Jesus when He said many times (recorded in all four Gospel testimonies) "whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will find it (eternal life)", and lived their lives in obedience to The Creator, even to death.

We are not centuries or even decades removed from this kind of brutality. Nope. This happens today.
Christian pastors and converts are beaten, imprisoned, crippled, and even lose their lives for His Name's sake... thanks be to God no longer in Japan, but still in over 54 countries. Japan eventually suffered tremendously for their sins against the saints- WW2. Now we must suffer (9/11, terrorism, extremism, murders) because the United States has turned away from its Creator and instead embraces idols of entertainment and godlessness is preached in the halls of academia. More woes will befall the United States unless there is a revival and true repentance!
13 people found this helpful
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