(Image: Paramount Pictures)

Our recent list of the fall’s most exciting films had one major omission: the next film by Martin Scorsese, his first feature since 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

The reason? With only a few months until it was due to open, there still was no trailer. Not only that, but, as a passion project the master director has been working on for over 20 years, there was reason to suspect it might not hit its December release date.

Well, those fears have now been shown to be unfounded. Yesterday (November 22) the first official trailer was finally released for Silence, which will open in theaters, as anticipated, on December 23.

Let joy be unconfined! Although, from the first few frames, it’s clear this is far from a jolly movie. Based on a 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō, it’s set in seventeenth century Japan during a time when Christians were viciously persecuted, and follows the fate of a Jesuit missionary who vanishes after publicly renouncing his faith.

Scorsese’s Gangs of New York star Daniel Day-Lewis was originally in the running for the role, but when the film’s long protracted development caused scheduling conflicts, he was replaced by castmate Liam Neeson.

Two Portuguese Jesuit priests, played by Hacksaw Ridge‘s Andrew Garfield and Star Wars: The Force AwakensAdam Driver, are then sent to rural Japan to unearth the whereabouts of their missing mentor and preach Christianity, with somewhat predictably violent results:

Thor‘s Tadanobu Asano and Game of Thrones‘ Ciarán Hinds also star, along with stars of Japanese cinema Yosuke Kubozuka, Shinya Tsukamoto, and Issey Ogata.

As you can probably tell, there’s not much that can abate our anticipation for this film, not even the long running time (originally purported to clock in at a whopping 195 minutes, it’s now been edited to a more Oscar-friendly 159, or 2 hours 39 minutes).

Will you be watching?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.