It may have taken 27 years, but based on the riveting first trailer for Martin Scorsese’s upcoming religious epic Silence, it will have been worth the wait. The long-gestating project—which has been in various stages of development since 1990—stars Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as 17th century Jesuit priests who set sail for Japan to find their mentor, played by Liam Leeson, after learning that he’s denounced the faith.
What ensues is harrowing tale of spiritual reckoning in a foreign land, where seaside crucifixion and unspeakable torture are par for the course. Based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel of the same name, Silence has long been Scorsese’s passion project. After seeing many actors come and go, he finally settled on the trio of Garfield, Neeson, and Driver, all of whom reportedly immersed themselves in their roles to such an extent that Oscar voters will have no choice but to take notice.
That brings us to the film’s December 23 release date, which makes Silence eligible for Oscar consideration. And while the race is getting more and more crowded by the day, Scorsese’s pedigree, the weighty subject matter, and let’s face it, this powerful first trailer, make Silence an instant contender for the top prize. Watch above.