Home News “Silent Night:” Vigilanteism for Christmas (Movie Review)

“Silent Night:” Vigilanteism for Christmas (Movie Review)

"Silent Night:" Revenge for Christmas

Christmas movies that do not share in the holiday spirit, but rather are dark inversions of it, have been popular since at least the 1980s (such as “Die Hard,” which is also showing at Chillicothe’s Danbarry Cinemas through Wednesday).

“Silent Night” is only the latest in this genré. “From legendary [action] director John Woo,” it delivers gritty action with a twist: A father eventually recovers from being wounded when his young son is killed in a drive-by shooting on Christmas morning, and he drives himself to seek revenge. But his wound leaves him voiceless, which puts a twist on the movie.

After the first few minutes, I was waiting for dialogue…which never happened. None of the main characters speak. This is a clearly a challenge by the writer and directer to tell the story without exposition – and they do it well, like a silent movie but in color and with music, gunshots, and texting.

Director Woo (Mission Impossible II, Face/Off, Broken Arrow) continues his well-choreographed kinetic style…complete with his signature fluttering birds. The movie even treats the revenge situation somewhat responsibly, with the protagonist seeking police help, quitting his self-medication, getting gun training, and avoiding collateral damage.

There are a few less-than-plausible situations, but overall the movie is a realistic and satisfying revenge story. Joel Kinnaman ((The) Suicide Squad, RoboCop (2014)) is plausible as a wounded, then coldly bloodthirsty, father.

My rating: 4 1/2 out of five “Death Wish” x “The Punisher” hybrids in an ugly Christmas sweater.

(“Silent Night” recalls last year’s deliciously snarky “Violent Night” where Santa stumbles upon a home invasion heist, and reveals his very un-saint-like past as he reluctantly helps with the situation – starring David Harbour of Hellboy (2019) and Black Widow.)


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