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silent night

starring: joel kinnaman, catalina sandino moreno, kid cudi, and harold torres

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A grieving father enacts his long-awaited revenge against a ruthless gang on Christmas Eve.

In 2023 the old, cinematic master directors - Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, and Michael Mann - have all delivered new films. Legendary 90’s action director John Woo who crafted Face Off, Mission: Impossible II, and Broken Arrow has also returned to the silver screen after a six year hiatus with Silent Night. Silent Night is classic John Woo action: bloody, visceral action that, along with a dialogue-less premise, demands our eyes be glued to the screen throughout. 

From director John Woo comes Silent Night, a gritty revenge tale of a tormented father who witnesses his young son die when caught in a gang’s crossfire on Christmas Eve. While recovering from a wound that costs him his voice, he makes vengeance his life’s mission and embarks on a punishing training regimen in order to avenge his son’s death. 

The premise of Silent Night is simple: the film is pretty much, apart from a few utterances, completely dialogue free. What makes the premise less of a gimmick is the tale itself, one as old as time when it comes to a blood thirsty action flick. A grieving father seeks to kill every last baddie that was associated with the death of his son. Simple right. 

But what elevates Silent Night above the rest is in its execution. There is a gritty, ferocious nature to the action sequences which will induce squirming and grimaces aplenty from its audience. There is also a sense of other worldliness to them, as if they are sometimes stretching the realms of believability, but only as John Woo could masterfully do. 

Another card that Silent Night has to play is Joel Kinnaman who is one of those actors who’s just so likeable. From Suicide Squad to Run All Night and TV’s For All Mankind you just can’t help but root for him. It couldn’t be more true here, as we not only want him to slaughter every last gang member as he communicates and connects with the audience through his physicality without a single word uttered. 

Silent Night is classic John Woo action: bloody, visceral action that, along with a dialogue-less premise, demands our eyes be glued to the screen throughout.

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