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Silence DVD review: Losing the faith in turgid drama

 

By Damon Smith

In 1640 Macao, Father Valignano (Ciaran Hinds) receives a letter suggesting Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has publicly denounced God and surrendered his faith in Japan. Young priests Sebastiao Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), proteges of Ferreira, persuade Father Valignano to allow them to seek out their mentor and disprove the rumours.

Set in a beautifully rendered 17th century Japan, Silence is a sprawling sermon on faith and endurance of the human spirit.

It is easy to admire for its technical precision and production design, but difficult to love for a lack of engagement with the characters.

The 161-minute running time is punishing, and Scorsese's script adopts a deliberately contemplative and pedestrian pace that will have many viewers silently yawning well before the end.

Three stars

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