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Silence [2017] [R] - 2.8.2

 
 

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ASSIGNED NUMBERS

Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
Profanity
1 to 10

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Two 17th-century Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) travel to Japan searching for their missing teacher (Liam Neeson). This is a time when Christianity was outlawed and severe punishment and death were employed to deter the Japanese population from converting to it. Also with Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds, Issei Ogata, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Yoshi Oida and Yôsuke Kubozuka. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Lines of dialogue are spoken in Chinese and Japanese and some are not translated or subtitled; several lines of dialogue are spoken in Latin with no translation or subtitles. [2:41]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - Men are shown wearing loin cloth-type bottoms that reveal bare buttocks, abdomens, chests and backs in several scenes. A man's robe is open and we see his bare chest and his bare side. Two men are shown with their robes open exposing their bare chests and abdomens.
 A man tells a story about another man having four concubines and that he sent them away because they always fought because they were jealous of each other. A man says, "A baron woman cannot be a true wife." A man says, "Your blessed virgin is a whore."

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - We hear that a man's family was put to death and we see him watching as several of them (both men and women) are wrapped in straw mats and piled on top of each other before being set on fire (we hear them screaming); a young woman and a man are shown tied to poles and set on fire and they thrash and scream as they are engulfed in flames. A man is beheaded by another man with a sword while several other people locked in a cage watch and scream; the man's severed head rolls on the ground and spills blood and we see his headless body dragged by the feet and leaving a trail of blood on the dirt before being placed in a hole (we see the body being dragged again later). Several people are wrapped in straw mats and tied; they are led into a boat and they are pushed into the water where they are held under by a man on the boat with a pole until they drown; another man on shore swims to the side of the boat to help a woman and he is also held under the water until he drowns (we see him floating dead in the water).
 Three men are tied to crosses and placed on rocks near the ocean; they are given Sake to drink and they are left to endure the elements including the rising tide until two of the men die (they are then burned on a pyre) and we are told that the third man lingered for four days before dying (we see his reddened skin and swollen eyes as he is placed on a pyre and burned). People are shown tied to stakes and men spill liquid on them (one man is splashed in the face with the liquid); it appears to be acidic as their skin reddens and they moan.
 We hear about and see several people being tortured by being wrapped in cloth and tied by their feet upside down with their heads in a pit and we hear that a small incision is made behind the ear so that all the blood won't collect in their heads too quickly and kill them too fast. A man hears the moaning and crying of several people who are being tortured by being bound and hung upside down over a pit. We see two severed heads resting on a wooden plank as many bound people are led along a path.
 A dead man is shown in a barrel that is then set on fire as another man chants. A man's feet are shown bloody after he walks a long distance in foot coverings made of grass and reeds. We see a painting of a man's face with a crown of thorns wrapped around his head and drops of blood on his forehead; we see this several times throughout the film. A man envisions his own head encircled with a crown of thorns when he looks in a pool of water. A man is struck in the stomach with a pole and he falls to his knees before being dragged away. A man walks along a muddy path and slips down a hillside; he hits his head and we see a bloody bruise on his head and face. Two men shove each other and argue. A man is bound and taken on horseback through a villager where people yell and throw things at him (this happens several times). A man smacks another man with a hand-held fan.
 Two men are being watched by two other men; they rush inside a shack and hide in a hole under the floor as the two men knock on the door and call to them. A man stumbles through an establishment bumping into people and he is shoved out into the street. A man is shown sleeping on the floor of an establishment and he holds a gourd filled with what we assume is liquor and the man is filthy and disheveled. Two men huddle together in a cave hiding until a man with a torch leads them to safety. An elderly man is bound and forced to walk along a muddy path.
 An Inquisitor orders "signs of faith" to be gathered from villagers and people are rounded up and required to stomp on a religious icon to denounce God. Men with swords come to a village and demand that the villagers confess to harboring Christians or turn over four hostages. Several men are held and told to spit on a cross; one man does and he is set free. We hear that dead Christians are burned so that they cannot have a religious burial. A man confesses to weakness several times and seeks forgiveness from a priest.
 Two men live in a shack for their safety and they appear to be going mad from not being able to go outside for fear of being caught. A man walks through an abandoned village where many cats walk around.
 People argue about two priests and that they have brought danger to their village by being there. A man talks about people asking to be tortured rather than forsaking their god. There are several conversations about people abandoning their god. A reference is made to hidden Christians. A man says, "Christians die in Nagasaki." A man says, "The red blood of priests has flowed profusely." A man describes people living and dying like beasts. A man says, "I imagine your son nailed to a cross" (talking to God). A woman asks a priest of it isn't good to die to go to paradise. A man tells a priest, "Your religion is dangerous." A man talks about a book being about the errors of Christianity and the title being something like deceit disclosed or unmasked. We hear that only the Dutch were allowed to trade in Japan and that possessions and cargo were searched for items that represented Christianity. A man says, "Nothing grows in a swamp," referring to Japan.
 A man spills water on an infant's head during a baptism. A man recoils from another man's odor. A man vomits against a wall and we see him heaving as goo leaves his mouth.

PROFANITY 2 - 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (beasts, poor wretch, weak, fools, peasants, arrogant man, selfish, apostate), 7 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus Christ, Lord, Jesus). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Men and women are seen in an establishment where they are drinking a beverage that we assume is alcoholic, and a man is shown sleeping on the floor of an establishment and he holds a gourd filled with what we assume is liquor of some sort.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Faith, Christianity, Buddhism, persecution, torture, Japan, rumors, courage, paradise, suffering, salvation, fear, despair, pity, martyrdom, truth, love, fidelity, monogamy.

MESSAGE - Humans can come up with ingeniously brutal ways to torture other humans. Religion often becomes part of the national identity.

Special Keywords: S2 - V8 - P2 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.




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