Action Speaks Louder than Words: SILENT NIGHT (2023) – review

We’re over a century removed from the ‘silent era’ but 90s action kingpin, John Woo, has brought it back in a small dose with his first American film in 20 years, aptly named, Silent Night – which opens in cinemas across Australia from Dec 7th from Rialto Distribution.

After losing his voice and child during a violent shooting among warring street gangs, a grief-stricken father engages ‘Charles Bronson Mode’ to exact revenge from those responsible, with the date set for Christmas Eve.

Minus a couple of muffled f-bombs, there’s not a single word of dialogue spoken in Silent Night, as the film instead relies on an effects-heavy soundtrack resembling a video game, particularly that of cinematic cut-scenes. This action picture is both an interesting experiment and experience, and is ironically quite noisy at times, despite the lack of talking. I appreciate the fact that Woo opted for something alternative to his usual style, but he still presents an action movie that is very much by the numbers, and comes across as a John Wick clone, even with a connection to the popular franchise.

Now to the big question, is Silent Night a Christmas movie? Not really. I feel like the inclusion of the festive season was a last-minute decision as the vibes are minimal. It’s in the background, it’s not like Die Hard or even Lethal Weapon to a lesser extent.

Joel Kinnaman as our vengeful lead is very intense during much of his very raw performance, and physically, he fits the bill as an action-oriented protagonist as he brutally wipes out a nameless and generic Hispanic street gang. Yet our lead is still believable as an average Joe who has lived a violent-free existence until now.

Silent Night is designed for big-screen viewing and I do encourage fans of the genre to head to their local cinema, should it be playing there. You won’t have to worry about being shushed by your fellow patrons as it’s a movie that invites verbal reactions to the carnage that unfolds.  – Visit FLICKS for a complete list of locations and session times

(2023, directors: John Woo)




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