The film that Scorsese has been trying to make for 25 years. It is a gorgeous film, and makes me want to watch some great Samurai films. Unfortunately for me the religious nature of the story left me dry. And it is brutally sadistic and gory. And the moment at the end seems fully false and guesswork. I guess this is all about faith for Scorsese, but to me it is the opposite. I just don’t believe the conjecture, and I honestly didn’t like the film.
Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) in Japan watches as the Japanese torture his fellow priests as they have made Catholicism illegal in Japan. In Macau two Jesuit priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), who were proteges of Ferreira learn that he has become an Apostate and has renounced his faith and has even taken a Japanese wife. Neither believes it, and resolve to go to Japan to find him and prove his fairh and bring him home. They enlist a drunken Japanese fisherman Kichijiro (Yōsuke Kubozuka) as their guide, and thry head to Japan and small fishing village.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
In Japan they find the villagers are secret Christians. The priests confess them and are hidden by them. A Japanese Samurai Inquisitor has villagers step on an image of Christ and those who refuse are put on crosses in the Ocean till they drown, then burnt so they can’t have Christian burrials.
The priests decide to split up. Garupe heads to Hirado, and Rodriguez heads to Goto where they last new Ferreira lived, but it is abandoned. He wanders around despondent, but is found by Kichijiro. He is completely dehydrated and when he gets water sees himself as christ. He is then found by the inquisitor’s men as he is betrayed by Kichijiro. He is told that if he doesn’t commit apostasy the captured Christians will all be tortured.
Rodriguez is imprisoned in Nagasaki along with the Christian villagers he knows. Rodriguez demands to see the governor, but learns that the samurai who captured him is the governor, Inoue Masashige. Kichijiro arrives saying that he was threatened and didn’t take the money. We also learn about his family who were Christians and were burned for it, while he saved his own skin. He says he is Christisn and is imprisoned, but steps on the image of Christ and is released.
Rodriguez is told he is to meet somone and he thinks it is Ferrereira, but it is Garupe with three Christians. He has been told that Rodriguez has appostated, and when the other prisoners are drowned he tries to help them and they drown him.
Rodriguez is then taken to see Ferreira who has Apostated and now goes by the Japanese name Sawano Chūan. He tells Rodriguez of the torture that broke him, being hung upside down with his head trapped in a hole. He now believes Christianity will never take in Japan, as even the translations are wrong and they worship the morning son instead of the son of god.
In prison he hears the screams of 5 christians being tortured. He tells them to apostize, but they already have, and that the torture won’t stop unless he apostizes, so he does.
One year Ferreira and Rodriguez search through items from suspected Christians, to see if the items are Christian. This is watched by a Dutch Trader who writes the encounter down. Rodriguez took a Japanse wife and her Children.
Every year Rodriguez must write a letter proving he is no longer religious. Kichijiro asks for forgiveness, but Rodriguez can’t as he is not a priest. Kichijiro is later caught with a religious amulet, that he claims to have won gambling, but is taken away.
Years later when Rodriguez dies, he is placed in a wooden casket and burned, but his hand is clutching a tiny wooden cross he was given when he arrived in Japan.
Really?!? And how would they know that he kept a cross in his hand since his body was burned! You have to be kidding me. Wishful thinking! This movie sucks!