Silence, the adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s fact-based 1966 novel about a pair of 17th century Jesuit priests who travel to Japan to rescue their mentor, has been a dream project of director Martin Scorsese for many years, going back to the early 1990s. He once nearly put together a version with Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro that ultimately fell apart, and the director tried to make it again five years ago before opting for Wolf of Wall Street instead.

Scorsese finally started filming Silence two years ago, with a cast that features Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. But much about the film has remained mysterious — for a time it was unclear whether it would arrive in 2016 at all, and until this week, there was neither a poster nor a trailer, despite the rapidly approaching release date. Now, there’s both.

The first trailer for Silence has now been released, offering viewers insight into what to expect from Scorsese’s passion project. The trailer, seen above, conveys an epic scale and weighty themes for this long-awaited film from a major director.

silence martin scorsese release date Martin Scorsese’s Silence Gets an Epic First Trailer

As shown in the trailer, Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Neeson) was a missionary in Japan, at a time of great persecution of Christians, when he was captured, tortured and coerced into abandoning his faith. A pair of Portugese priests (Garfield and Driver) are sent to Japan to rescue their mentor, while also filling his former role as missionary. 

The trailer makes clear that Silence is an epic tale full of gorgeous imagery (it was filmed in Taiwan). In terms of the Scorsese filmography, it appears to be more of a Last Temptation of Christ or Kundun than a Goodfellas, The Departed or The Wolf of Wall Street — a meditative look at a major moment in religious history, likely without much sex, cursing or Rolling Stones songs. Violence, on the other hand, is highly likely to make an appearance in some form.

Will audiences go for this, especially considering the heavy subject matter and reported running time of 160 minutes? That remains to be seen, although Scorsese has been enjoying the greatest box office success of his long career with his more recent work, especially such accessible fare as The Departed and Wolf of Wall Street. Whether such success will translate to Silence, and bring awards success with it, we’ll find out soon. Silence will open in limited release in December, before expanding further after the new year.

Source: Paramount Pictures

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