Silence 15

Martin Scorsese wrestles his religious obsessions to the ground in 17th Century Japan in his latest film, a true passion project that has been gestating for more than a quarter of a century. Based on Shusake Endo's acclaimed novel, it is the story of two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan in search of their mentor (Liam Neeson), who's rumoured to have abandoned his faith when faced with the Shogunate's violent persecution of Christians.

When the priestly pair arrive in Japan, however, they quickly realise just how viciously Christianity is being repressed. This is a world where Christians are asked to spit on the cross or to stamp on an image of the Christ to prove they have renounced their faith. If they demur, they or their families will be viciously tortured and killed. Will God remain silent in the face of such unimaginable suffering?

With a long running time and some violent scenes, Silence is a slowly unfolding, deeply thoughtful film about questioning yourself, questioning authority, questioning faith. Those who come along for the ride will find themselves richly rewarded at a time when self-reflection seems desperately needed. A true powerhouse of an experience and one, according the Independent, "of the greatest achievements of spiritually minded cinema".