You may associate the name Martin Scorsese with a number of big Hollywood films such as Goodfellas, The Departed, or The Wolf of Wall Street, but if I were to say that he directed a film diving into some of the intricacies of spiritual turmoil many would be shocked. Well, that is almost exactly what Scorsese did with his film, Silence.
Silence, film released in 2016, is based off of 1966 novel by Shūsaku Endō titled Silence. The film depicts a journey of two Jesuit priests, Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), in the 17th century who travel to Japan in search of their mentor, Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who apparently denounced his faith due to the torture of the Japanese authorities. It follows them as they preach and mentor the small amount of Japanese christians, and as they watch and experience the tortures of the Japanese government both second hand, as well as, receiving the torture themselves.
Scorsese has had this project in the works for almost thirty years before coming to be able to actually create the film. It shows in how precisely this movie does at encapsulating its audience. Cinematically the film is stunning, and for me the content takes my full focus and then some to digest the mysteries this film is wrestling with. This film challenges me in my faith, and it makes me come to a better understanding of how privileged I am to be able to proclaim my faith publicly. Scorsese’s other predominantly Christian film, The Last Temptation of Christ, was met with a tremendous amount of controversy due to the fact that many Christians felt his interpretations were unbiblical. Fortunately for us, this film does no such thing. It causes Christian viewers to think more deeply about the position of which they are with their faith, and it sparks conversation about the fact that maybe the heart behind decisions is more important than the actually action.
I do not want to spoil this film for anyone who has not seen it, but I highly recommend this film, especially for someone who enjoys wrestling with theological ideas through the artistic lens of a film.
There is beauty in the chaos, and there is beauty within the wrestling. Stories are not always meant to be bright sunshines and lush green fields, but even the sad and traumatic have divine beauty within.