Deadly Night

John Woo is back, if not in form at least in function. Perhaps pigeons have replaced doves but gun shots providing hails of fire remain abundant in Silent Night.

Joel Kinnaman headlines, with Catalina Sandino Moreno in a support role as his grieving wife. After the couple’s child is shot dead in their front yard, part of collateral damage from a drive-by gang war, Kinnaman seeks vengeance against the thugs responsible.

Despite an abundance of ultra-violence and the feeling that Woo has stubbed his toes on a new millennium death wish it’s obvious that Silent Night has cinematic momentum. It’s a stripped down version of Woo’s greatest camera movements minus ambiguity to attract the John Wick crowd.

Here’s the thing about Silent Night; you don’t really notice in the beginning act the lack of dialogue. The opening salvo seems to be setting up the vengeance part of the story and all is apparent without the characters actually speaking. The entire film although scored wall-to-wall has no actual dialogue.

Joel Kinnaman as Godlock in Silent Night. Photo Credit: Carlos Latapi

Sure there’re radio broadcasts, police scanners, and grunts and screams of agony. Yet not a single word is exchanged between Kinnaman and the perpetrators of his anguish. “Arrgggh” doesn’t count as dialogue.

As minimalistic as the film seems there’s a lot going on with things like production design and make-up. Warehouses seem empty but they are full of meaning and the tattoos were applied with the same precision as prosthetic devices.

Silent Night opens on December 1.

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