Few filmmakers have had the career that Martin Scorsese has been fortunate enough to have. Though he wasn’t acknowledged for the majority of his often stunning cinematic works of art with an Oscar until the release of The Departed in 2006, the 74-year-old director continues to work as hard as ever. Scorsese thrives on being a creator – an innovator, even – and watching his impressive catalogue of films leaves one with the impression that awards have never been the end goal of his distinguished career as a filmmaker.
With the upcoming arrival of Silence, Scorsese has finally realized the passion project he’s longed to make since he first read the Shūsaku Endō novel on which the film is based, back in 1989. Though the film isn’t officially released quite yet, there have been numerous screenings to date – and a great deal of critical acclaim as a result. The first trailer for Silence arrived last November, providing a quick but powerful look at what Scorsese’s long-gestating effort will offer audiences upon its release.
Now thanks to Japan’s Kadokawa Corporation, a new international trailer for Silence has arrived and can be viewed above. This latest trailer offers a more in-depth look at the effects of importing a religious belief to a foreign land in the 17th-century, particularly with regard to how it impacts upon the Japanese. There’s a far greater hint of the film’s brutality and the persecution that exists against those who choose one faith over another. While the first trailer focused more on the objective of the film’s main stars (Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver), this international trailer delves a little deeper and darker.
Silence tells the story of two 17th-century Portuguese Catholic missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver), who undertake a perilous journey to Japan after learning that their mentor (Liam Neeson) has abandoned his faith. What awaits the two priests is an environment they were not prepared for – one in which their very faith is threatened with torture and where only a commitment to apostasy will end the suffering they face. With a running time of nearly three hours and subject matter that parallels theological controversies that still exist to this day, Silence might not be for everyone, but it certainly appears destined to make an impact upon its release.
This of course isn’t the first exploration of religious dogma and its consequences upon people that Scorsese has taken on. His 1988 adaptation of author Niko Kazantzakis’ novel The Last Temptation of Christ was tremendously controversial, but was still widely regarded as one of the best films of that year. Scorsese’s ability to engage audiences by offering them both the beauty and horrors of life has been a talent of his from the start of his career. Indeed, imagery in film is so important to him that he recently revealed he no longer watches most new films because their imagery is meaningless.
Whatever your feelings regarding Martin Scorsese and his filmmaking, Silence definitely has a grandeur about it that is evident even from the two trailers that currently exist. This is the sort of film that divides critics and offers the potential for awards – an ongoing theme in the ever evolving and vital film canon of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.