Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Silence,' starring Andrew Garfield

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The march toward the holiday weekend continues, and so does our rundown of the big movies opening in theaters.

Next on the list is Martin Scorsese's prized-project "Silence," starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver.

There was plenty of Oscar buzz for the film before most people had seen the movie, but most of that has died down now that people have had a chance to watch the picture.

Faith is a difficult test for Jesuit missionaries in medieval Japan, as priests played by Garfield and Driver learn as they travel to the land of the rising sun in search of a wayward Catholic played by Neeson.

Japan was a scary place for all Christians in the 17th century, and especially for Catholics. And for almost three excruciating hours, the audience is forced to endure what they do.

There are scenes of incredible brutality, even beheading, which is very graphic, and the torture portrayed makes it almost a torture to watch. While it's possible to admire the score of the effort and the grandeur of the imagery, it could have done without seeing an already skinny actor 50 pounds lighter.

Their suffering is our suffering, and why should you pay to see that, especially during the holiday season of celebration?

This is a movie for masochists and nobody else, except perhaps for Catholics who may find the picture as a useful discussion of faith.

"Silence" is a longtime passion project for Scorsese, who once trained for the priesthood. He spent decades and millions of dollars of his own money to make the film.

His dedication is admirable, and most reviews have been respectful. But "Silence" is deadly and a brutal bore, hardly justifiable to consider paying for a ticket and your time to see it.
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