“The moment you step foot into that country, you step into high danger.” And with that, two Portuguese Jesuit priests are dispatched to feudal Japan in search of a missing missionary (played by Liam Neeson) — and we get a first look at Martin Scorsese’s long-in-coming epic Silence, starring Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. Paramount opens the film December 23.
The trailer is thrilling, set to screaming violins, intense martial drumming and blasts of the religious imagery and violence all but perfected by Scorsese. There will be crucifixions.
Garfield and Driver play the Jesuits seeking a missing mentor who may or may not have renounced his faith. Early in the trailer we see a beaten-down Neeson kneeling in subjugation — to whom or what isn’t quite clear — and it isn’t long before the Garfield and Driver characters are in equally bad shape. “I pray but I’m lost,” says Garfield’s Rodrigues at the end, then adding the kicker that gives the film it’s title: “Am I just praying to silence?”
Among the more memorable images: A dizzying overhead shot of three priests, in black of course, striding across a stone plaza, and later, ocean waves washing over crucified Japanese villagers.
Tadanobu Asano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Ciarán Hinds, Shinya Tsukamoto and Issey Ogata also star. The screenplay is by Jay Cocks and Scorsese, based on Shūsaku Endō’s novel.
Earlier tonight, various websites jumped the Silence gun and posted a link to the trailer that Paramount quickly disabled before reviving it on its Twitter account.
Read Deadline’s new interview with Driver here. And earlier this month, Deadline reported that Silence will screen in Rome at the end of November to 400 Jesuit priests. The screening has been arranged courtesy of Rev. James J. Martin, S.J., a U.S.-based Jesuit adviser on the film.
Amanda N’Duka contributed to this report.