FILM REVIEWS

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

ADD TO MY FAVORITES
8/10 R 03 hr 01 min

Share your thoughts. We appreciate it!

By Richard Von Busack January 12, 2017

The agony and the agony of Scorsesse's latest religious epic Read More

By Richard von Busack January 12, 2017

Martin Scorese's dream project, Silence, is done at last, and it's one large, dry hunk of crisis of faith. It's a less bloody but still torture-wracked remake of The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), complete with the temptation to a peaceful life. It's seemingly the longest and most pulse-free of Scorsese's primarily religious movies, including Kundun (1997) and Last Temptation (1988); in it we're taken on a tour of Scorsese's recollections of the classic studio era, when religious movie kitsch used to draw so heavily from the contents of European art museums.

A pair of suitably dogged Jesuits (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) are sent from Portugal to find out what became of a long-lost priest (Liam Neeson) sent on a mission years before. The black-robed Europeans discover a Catholic colony in southern Japan in turmoil, with converts being martyred by the score; an inquisitor called Inoue (Issey Ogata) is sending his soldiers after the faithful. When the priests are separated, Father Sebastiao (Garfield) is left in the care of a backsliding guide, whose faith can never stand the tests of the persecutors.

Jailed in a polished wooden cage (the timbers are meant to look like a smooth, lacquered cross in an expensive painting of the crucifixion), Sebastiao is left to chat with jesting Pilate Inoue, an unusually open-minded old noble—a man who sees that what we have here is a failure to communicate between Buddhists and Christians. But the martyrdom Sebastiao seeks seems to elude him—and Sebastiao isn't certain he hears the voice of God anymore.

Many Catholic kids will have had some fun in their youths wondering how they would deal if pagans tried to make them apostates. Would they spit on the cross and escape at the costs of their immortal souls? Or would they endure their torments like a true Christian martyr? We all have our own crosses and crises, but this game of "How Faithful Are You?" is something people tend to outgrow. One liked the movie most when it wasn't focusing on a religious fanatic trying to get God's signal tuned in, or watching poor Christian peasants fed to the flames or the waves. Ogata runs away with the movie. He's an old ambler, a smiler, and good at cuffing a dumb assistant with his fan. (His overbite matches Scorsese's—perhaps he's the director's surrogate.) You end up on his side. How much patience is an old man supposed to have with a blinkered young fanatic?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – An Excellent Star Wars Film

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – An Excellent Star Wars Film

December 15, 2017

It’s time for another Star Wars film but will it live up to the hype? It will...

I, Tonya – A Surprisingly Unorthodox Biopic

I, Tonya – A Surprisingly Unorthodox Biopic

December 15, 2017

ICYMI: My earlier review of I, Tonya from this year’s Toronto International F...

From Luke’s Lightsaber to Dorothy’s Dress: The Most Expensive Movie Memorabilia of all Time

From Luke’s Lightsaber to Dorothy’s Dress: The Most Expensive Movie Memorabilia of all Time

December 14, 2017

Star Wars is one of the most successful film franchises of all time.

'The Last Jedi' - The newest 'Star Wars' film may be the best in the franchise

'The Last Jedi' - The newest 'Star Wars' film may be the best in the franchise

December 14, 2017

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' thrills with a mix of idealist battle, disillusion...

'Wonder Wheel' - At least Woody Allen's latest film has Kate Winslet

'Wonder Wheel' - At least Woody Allen's latest film has Kate Winslet

December 14, 2017

Kate Winslet glows in Woody Allen's unimpressive 'Wonder Wheel.'

THE SNOWMAN (2017) REVIEW

THE SNOWMAN (2017) REVIEW

December 11, 2017

YOU CAN’T FORCE THE PIECES TO FIT

The Breadwinner – An Important Animated Film

The Breadwinner – An Important Animated Film

December 09, 2017

Another film based on a book I haven’t read. Coco may be the frontrunner for ...

The Shape of Water – An Original Love Story

The Shape of Water – An Original Love Story

December 08, 2017

ICYMI: My earlier review of The Shape of Water from this year’s Toronto Inter...