The heavy weight of expectation surrounding anything labelled as a "passion project" can be pretty intimidating.
Especially when your name happens to be Martin Scorsese, meaning everyone's expecting nothing short of a masterpiece; a sentiment which perfectly encapsulates the current hype surrounding Silence, a film the legendary director has been developing for well over a decade now.
Scorsese had previously been close to launching the project back in 2009 with Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio del Toro, and Gael García Bernal in the lead roles; though it soon fell into hiatus, with the director instead moving on to work on both Shutter Island and Hugo.
In fact, Silence's endless delays actually saw Scorsese face legal trouble when Cecchi Gori Pictures alleged the director breached a contract agreement which stated he would shoot the film following 1997's Kundun, though he instead chose to make Bringing Out the Dead, Gangs of New York, and the Aviator first.
The finished project, shot in 2014, stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson in the adaptation of Shūsaku Endō's novel of the same name; which sees two 17th century Portuguese priests face persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor, who committed apostasy after being tortured.
And, as this clip proves, Scorsese's delivered a film both beautifully contemplative, and fuelled by anguish; with Garfield and Driver's priests trapped in the heart of of a persecutory Japan, unable to discern between the Christians that seek their aid - and those that would have them punished for their beliefs.
If you crave a little more Scorsese, the BFI will be holding an entire season dedicated to the director, running though January and February. You can find out more information here.
Silence hits UK cinemas on New Year's Day.
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