The novel source for this film was written by Shusaku Endo and published in 1966. The setting is the 17th century in Japan. Two Catholic missionaries, Father Sebastiao Rodrigues and Father Francisco Garupe, travel to Japan from Portugal to search for their missing mentor Father Ferreira. They are not sure if he is still alive. At this time in history, Catholicism was outlawed and the presence of missionaries forbidden. Brutal feudal lords and the ruling samurai are fully committed to discover hidden Christians.
The story is based on historical facts but the nationality of Father Ferreira was changed to Portuguese from Italian. There is a LOT of suffering in this film. Japanese authorities torture the village people and the missionaries in many ways. Father Rodrigues and Father Garupe are fully committed to their task but they realize they may not be able to complete it? There were times I wondered how far the violence would escalate? I think this needed more concise editing since there is some repetition in the scenes. Martin Scorsese was raised in a devoutly Catholic environment and his family is of Sicilian-American descent. 3 ½* (I liked this movie)
161 min, Adventure directed by Martin Scorsese with Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds, Issei Ogata, Shin’yaTsukamoto, Yoshi Oida, Yosuke Kubozuka, Kaoru Endo.
Note: Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 85% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*, Amazon 3.9* out of 5* with 146 reviews, 3 ½* out of 4* Rolling Stone.
Special Note: Taipei City, Hualien, Taichung, Taiwan; Macau, China. Filming was completed in 73 days. Liam Neeson said that Scorsese is intimidating on the set and he requires absolute silence. Driver lost 50 pounds for the role, 30 before filming and 20 during filming. Neeson lost 20 pounds for his role. The film’s premiere was held at the Vatican. There was a pre-screening for 400 Jesuit Priests in Rome. There were repeated delays in the production department and Daniel Day-Lewis, Gael Garcia Bernal and Benicio Del Toro all dropped out. Weather conditions were inhospitable and the production was daylight-dependent. There were no luxuries with additional budgetary funding.