Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson and Tadanobu Asano (Thor) star in Martin Scorsese's historical drama, based on the novel by Shûsaku Endô. The story follows two Jesuit Portuguese Catholic priests who, travelling in 17th century Japan to spread the teachings of Christianity, face violent persecution.... More
Scorsese has been developing this project since the early '90s and through the years, the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio del Toro have been attached to star.Hide
YOUR RATING & REVIEWWATCHLIST
BY Paul Casserly Flicks Writer
As a lapsed Catholic I’m always keen on a tale that documents the folly, arrogance and optimism of religious conversion and missionary zeal, especially in a colonial setting. Also, I like Japanese food and Scorsese pictures so what could go wrong?... More
Not much as it turns out, though apart from a tea ceremony and some less than desirable snacks things are pretty grim on the catering front. There is, however, a smorgasbord of torture techniques to enjoy as this epic unfurls, a crucifixion in the surf amongst them. But 17th century Japan wasn’t fertile ground for Jesus, and in this film, the specific set of skills possessed by Liam Neeson’s Father Ferreira doesn’t include successfully converting more than a few hundred souls before losing his religion.
Sent to rescue him from the heathens and his apostasy are two fervent young Jesuit priests, played with naïve intensity by Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-man) and Adam Driver (Girls), but the show is well and truly stolen by the wonderful Issei Ogata as the Samurai inquisitor, possibly the most reasonable torturer in cinema history. Through him we get closer to understanding why the Japanese had no truck for this introduced spiritual species. He’s also the only flicker of comedy in this slow moving religious western.
Scorsese’s take on Shūsaku Endō ‘s 1966 novel basks in the rhythm and rhyme of Catholicism and doesn’t bludgeon with sermon. But nor does it have the charm or power of his best work. It reminded me of a rosary: repetitive, a little boring, but also calming and mesmerising. It’s a punishing journey to be sure, but if you can handle a marathon, that’s also the beauty of it. You’ll want it to end, until it does.Hide
The Peoples' Reviews
Your rating & reviewRate / Review this movie
Rate and/or review
BY murphyp64 nobody
A Scorsese film cannot be taken lightly. This film tells the story of two very earnest young Jesuit priests in search of their former teacher and mentor who is said to have apostatized during intense persecution of Christians in Japan during the 17th century. As a portrayal of the inner workings of the mind and spirit under extreme provocation it is masterly. A film that will leave a lasting imprint.
BY cinemusefilm superstar
As complex as its themes are, the film’s plotline is simple. Set in 17th century, two Jesuit priests journey from Portugal to Japan in search of their monastery leader who has reportedly renounced his faith. It was a time when every vestige of Christianity was brutally suppressed by Japanese rulers through extensive public renunciations, torture, and executions. The Jesuits find villages of underground Christians who welcome the priests as messiahs. They administer sacred rites and preach to the faithful who believe the path is restored to the kingdom of heaven. The authorities hear of the Christian resurgence but even torture and killings will not force the villagers to betray the priests. They are finally captured and their choice is to renounce their faith or be forced to watch more killings.
Up to this point in the story it is a sweeping narrative of bold adventurism, religious persecution, and richly detailed contrasts between Christian and Oriental cultures. Two hours into the story, the film turns into a psychological thriller when the surviving Jesuit comes face-to-face with the renounced mentor he once revered. The dialogue of this meeting is some of the most existentially challenging commentary upon the nature of faith you will find on film. In portraying the immense chasm between apostate and disciple, the film explores the arrogance of religious colonialism; the interplay of personal ego, faith and self-sacrifice; and the incompatibility of two culturally divergent belief systems. The final chapter of the film provides the narrative space in which the Jesuit must confront his god and himself.
By its nature, this is a polarising film. It is criss-crossed with political and religious dogma and the history of colonial conquest. It is rich in Christian metaphor, with several scenes evoking the Passions of Christ, the Crucifixion, and the nature of sin and salvation. Some audiences will view it through the lens of their own religious beliefs, but most will recognise this as a monumental Scorsese work. At two hours and forty minutes it requires investment and some will find the pace uneven. Even here, metaphors are at work as the compression and de-compression of time mimics the tides of religious history. As similar stories could be told in different lands, some might find the portrait of cruelty in Japanese history one-sided. But there is no doubting that this is masterful storytelling with a fine cast and stunning cinematography that offers provocative insights into the nature of faith.Hide
BY JackWallace superstar
Showing 3 of 3 reviews. See all reviews