All through 2016 Silence has been a quiet presence in the Oscar race. We have seen plenty of buzz around films like Moonlight and 20th Century Women. They screened at film festivals. Silence has been the unknown quantity all year. The studio could not give a release date until last month.
However no matter how hushed its release, nobody can ignore a new Martin Scorsese film. You especially cannot ignore one that looks to be a dramatic period epic. Silence is the passion project Scorsese has been struggling to make since 1990 between great movies like Shutter Island, Hugo, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Finally Scorsese and his budget of fifty-one million dollars have made the movie. Now Silence has its first trailer:
Silence is an adaptation of a 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō. It's the second film based on the novel, after a 1971 Japanese film directed by Masahiro Shinoda. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play a pair of Jesuit priests who travel to 17th century Japan in search of their mentor, played by Liam Neeson. Japan in this period was a dangerous place for Christians. They were forced underground by the isolationist Shogunate.
The trailer features an intense collection of scenes promising very dark subject matter. Silence uses a dreary color pallet, matching its tale of misery and pain. Scorsese has not covered subject matter like this since his controversial 1988 film, The Last Temptation of Christ. The Kurosawa-esque backdrop of feudal Japan is an interesting location for a film about the struggle of faith.
Silence will sneak into theaters with a limited release on December 23rd, just in time to qualify for the 2017 Academy Awards. For those who don't live in New York or Los Angeles, a wider release will come in January.