Silent Night 2023 Movie Review
Hollywood Movies Review

Silent Night 2023 Movie Review

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Silent Night 2023 Movie Review

John Woo’s Violent, Silent Night is a Bold Experiment That Works. While John Woo’s new film, which hits theaters December 1st, has many elements that embody the reasons international action film fans idolize him, it has one character trait that is distinct from other Woo films. In fact, it is unique from all modern, full length movies. That feature is that the film has no dialogue. When I use the phrase “no dialogue” it is not hyperbolic to mean limited dialogue. There is, literally, no dialogue, at all.

While this bold cinematic experiment could have been disastrous, it was not. In fact, it is critical to the film’s appeal. This unique perspective, actually, elevates this film to a higher art form, without ever losing the raw grit and violent, action thrills that are at its core. The film’s success lies in the fact that it is so well made, and the acting is so thoughtfully constructed, that the audience never longs for what does not even seem to be missing-spoken words. After viewing this one I had to remind myself that there was no dialogue. That is a tribute to the solid storytelling throughout Silent Night.

Joel Kinnaman stars in, and does much of the heavy lifting, in this one. Kinnaman, a relative unknown to American movie audiences, is the fulcrum around which the entire weight of the film rests. His stellar ability to solidly convey to the audience his angst and despair over the murder of his son, and his laser pointed focus in avenging his death without words is what propels the film from an ordinary action film to an extraordinary one. This is a solid performance that happens to be in an action film, and not in spite of it.

Catalina Sandino Moreno does an equally powerful job balancing the emotions of being the mother of a murdered son, who can not seem to break through the forcefield which is surrounding her husband’s emotional descent. Moreno is the heart of the film, for sure.

John Woo is known for his masterful Direction of action sequences. His, The Killer (1989), is considered one of the best action films of the 20th Century. This film builds on his distinguished body of work with jaw dropping vehicular chase scenes, chaotic shootouts, and visceral hand to hand exchanges. These are filmed with magnetic precision, and the elimination of shaky-cam effects, leading to a riveting result.

While the film has the traditional martial arts theme of revenge, Kinnaman’s lack of the conventional training of John Wick, Taken’s Bryan Miller, and Nobody’s Hutch Mansell is an asset to the film. His attempt to elevate his physical body and fighting skills to be able to obliterate his enemies is part of the film’s brutal realism. This one is extremely violent, but it is all part of the roller coaster ride. He is a man driven by a singular cause, and we feel his pain.

The entire supporting cast here does an admirable job of telling their part of the story. They are very good. The villains are, certainly, a little over the top here, but that makes their demise so much more satisfying.

Marco Beltrani’s musical score is as much a character in the film as any member of the cast. Music in movies is an important element of the storytelling; however, not all scores have the same level of importance. Perhaps, because of the lack of dialogue here, the score is vital and it does its job effectively.

The real question on my mind as I left the NYC screening was, “Like Die Hard, will people be debating whether Silent Night is, actually, a Christmas movie for years to come.” While I am not sure of the answer to that question, I do know that John Woo’s, Silent Night, is a winner. This Lionsgate release is greater than the sum of its parts. It is one of the best action films of the year, and I highly recommend it.

Silent Night 2023 Movie Review

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