(2016) (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: Two 17th century Portuguese missionaries travel to Japan in hopes of finding an older priest who's reportedly renounced his religion in the face of Japan's persecution of missionaries and Christians in their country.
- It's the 1600s and Father Sebastiao Rodrigues (ANDREW GARFIELD) and Father Francisco Garupe (ADAM DRIVER) are two Portuguese priests who've been tasked with finding out what happened to Father Cristovao Ferreira (LIAM NEESON), a Christian missionary in Japan. Despite there once being several hundred thousand Christian converts in that country due to the work of Ferreira and others like him, the past several decades have featured a brutal crackdown there on the religion and those who openly practice and preach for it.
From letters now several years old, it's been learned that Ferreira faced such persecution himself and reportedly abandoned his faith, took a Japanese wife, and is living among the locals of Nagasaki as a fallen priest. Sebastiao and Francisco refuse to believe this and thus convince their superior, despite the very real dangers, to allow them to travel to Japan and find out what's really happened.
They get there by way of China and with a disgraced Japanese man, Kichijiro (YOSUKE KUBOZUKA) -- whose family refused to renounce Christianity like he did and thus were put to death -- as their guide and translator. After landing onshore in secret, Kichijiro seemingly abandons them, but really has brought back a secret group of practicing Japanese Christians -- lead by Ichizo (YOSHI OIDA) and Mokichi (SHIN'YA TSUKAMOTO) -- who gratefully welcome the two priests with open arms.
They begin preaching the gospel to that group and then others, but word eventually gets out about the missionaries and that draws the attention of an inquisitor, Inoue Masashige (ISSEY OGATA), who's made it his mission to wipe out Christianity. He's doing that not just by killing the converts, but also torturing others until such missionaries apostatize (renounce their faith).
Sebastiao and Francisco manage to avoid capture at first, but witness firsthand the horrors that Inoue inflicts. They decide to part ways in order to protect the locals who worship them, but Sebastiao ends up captured by the inquisitor and his men. From that point on, and with the aid of an Interpreter (TADANOBU ASANO), Inoue does what he can to break the priest and get him to renounce his faith, something the missionary steadfastly refuses to do, no matter the consequences and human toll.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Older teens might be, especially if they're interested in the subject matter or are fans of director Martin Scorsese or anyone in the cast.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For some disturbing violent content.
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