Not the nature of faith, but our nature analyzed in faith. Martin Scorsese's decades-long journey into the hearts and minds of members of a species so infinitely complex, a philosophical probe that ventures ever further, ever deeper within; in his downtime, he has been experimenting with an analogous yet inverse journey outward, into stylistic maximalism. Expanding his outlook, refining his concerns, and now Silence is the bold, ferocious announcement of the product of this process, a film of enormous insight and yet minuscule scope. If initially perfunctory, enlivened by the compelling substance of a team of artists collaborating on a work of resolute artistry, it develops into a film of inconceivable philosophical wealth. Scorsese's examination of the conflicting influences which faith - its potential for and/or its repulsion of interpretative variation - holds over humanity is intensely personal; his insistence upon delineating every strand of its influence upon him, engendering Silence's essential inquisitiveness and thereby its singular emotional force in its inconclusiveness, transforms a tale of inherently limited relevance to each individual viewer into one of remarkable communication. Rather than emerging as a frustratingly esoteric experience, Silence extols the value of spirituality as a personal matter, encouraging each viewer's unique response in their unique appraisal of material that's so dense as to mean vastly different things to even the most casual audience members. For faith is only the prism through which Scorsese here views his subject - the intelligent mind, and its exclusive capacity to create thoughts, to receive information, and to cultivate characters in each of us.