Silent Night (2023) – Review. John Woo

Action legend John Woo had not directed a film in Hollywood for 20 years (his last was Paycheck) but has now returned to screens with this action revenge thriller Silent Night starring Joel Kinnaman.

On Christmas Eve, a man witnesses the death of his young son when the boy gets caught in crossfire between warring gangs. Recovering from a wound that cost him his voice, he soon embarks on a bloody and gruelling quest to punish those responsible.

That’s the plot, a simple story told many times before but with the unusual gimmick of no dialogue being spoken throughout the whole film, apart from a few words from the man’s wife and radio broadcasts.

They say pictures speak louder than words and this has been taken to extremes by director Woo and works well for the most part. There were times when a few words spoken by other characters may have helped, (the lead actor cannot speak as he was shot in the throat by gangsters at the start of the film) and it does stutter the emotional proceedings at times.

Those reading this will wonder what the action is like and I am happy to say it has many of the director’s trademarks, violent shootouts galore and plenty of blood is shed. It is more gritty than his previous slick movies such as Face Off or Hard Boiled but that is because the father is just an ordinary man and has to train himself to use guns and other weapons to get his revenge.

A nice touch is that he is shown a lot of times to be totally out of his depth and struggles with many of his fights and battles. Joel Kiddeman is excellent in the role, a man so overcome with grief that once he sets his mind to do what he must do, everything else is tossed aside.

Other characters don’t fare so well, his wife is given little to do and the cop who ends up helping him, as well as the villains, have no development whatsoever. The violence is strong and bloody, it deserves its UK 18 certificate for sure. The film was shot on a small budget and filmed quickly in just over a month.

Sadly Silent Night was not given even a limited cinema release in the UK and went straight to Sky Movies where fans can now see it. In the USA it did get a limited big-screen release and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray soon. If you want to own it on DVD / Blu ray it will be available from Amazon USA and also Ebay (Click Here)…

While certainly not anywhere near as good as his more classic movies there is a lot to enjoy about Silent Night and comes recommended.

FILM – 7.5 OUT OF 10

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