Martin Scorsese has been thinking about adapting Masahiro Shinoda’s 1971 novel Silence for almost 30 years. That means it could trump even Gangs of New York as the most fervent passion project of the Raging Bull and Goodfellas director’s illustrious career. After numerous production stops and starts, the film has finally been shot — and whittled down from what was reportedly an extremely long early cut. And now, mere weeks before its theatrical debut, we finally have our first look at the historical epic.
In Silence, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play 17th-century Jesuit priests who embark on a long journey to find their master (Liam Neeson), who’s reportedly lost his way in Japan. Along that trek, they’re brutally persecuted for their beliefs. As the above promo lays out, Silence will apparently be anything but a quiet religious drama; on the contrary, the first trailer for Scorsese’s long-in-the-making film promises to be a tense, violent thriller steeped in issues of suffering and faith.
Given how long Scorsese has aimed to make Silence and considering its sweeping scope, gorgeous visuals (from his The Wolf of Wall Street cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto) and impressive cast, the film will no doubt figure heavily into December’s award-season discussions. Silence will receive a limited Oscar-qualifying run on Dec. 23, before expanding in January.