By this point, you’re probably well aware that Silence is a film that Martin Scorsese has been wanting to make since her received Shusaku Endo‘s book in 1988. In the mid-2000s there was a cast set to make it happen but the money wasn’t there. And it was a helluva cast. Gael Garcia Bernal and Javier Bardem were set to play young priests pursuing their mentor in 17th century Japan (to have been played by Daniel Day-Lewis). Years passed and then money was finally secured to make an epic religious film about faith, tolerance, commerce and individuality. But that cast could no longer stay in tact. Not necessarily due to schedules, but due to the roles themselves. The two priests needed to be young, altruistic and naive. On paper, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver might not sound as stalwart as the award-winning actors who previously were attached. But they’re absolutely perfect in the roles.
Father Rodrigues (Garfield) and Father Garupe (Driver) arrive in Japan with a common goal to find Father Ferreria (Liam Neeson) and to reinvigorate him with the Catholic faith that he has lost. But Rodrigues and Garupe’s faith become very different once they land in Japan. Rodrigues, when confronted by the Samurai who are under order to wipe out Christianity, bends and instructs his new followers to deny their God, spare their life, and practice internally. But Garupe is steadfast in accepting and promoting martyrdom. And in those divergent paths, Garfield and Driver are flawless.
In mid-December, I got the chance to talk with Driver about his interpretation of Garupe and whether there was added excitement or added pressure knowing that he was bringing to life a movie that one of the greatest directors of all time had attempted to mount for more than two decades.
Silence has played in New York, Los Angeles since Christmas weekend, but it expands nationwide this week. You can read my review of the film here.