andrew burke





"Silent Night" Is Not Quite As Advertised But Is Still Pretty Great

Posted on: 2023-12-14

I was selling stuff at Have Yourself a Gothic Christmas the other weekend and overheard some women talking about a new Christmas-themed action movie with no dialogue at all and starring "he's such a hunk! I'll watch anything with him in it!" Joel Kinnaman.

I'd enjoyed Kinnaman in For All Mankind, especially once the people behind that show figured out how good he is at expressing that particular range of emotions from grumpy to furious. He also has broad shoulders and a tall physique, which all could certainly combine to make him an effective action star.

During a slow moment at the show I snuck a peek at the trailer:

I don't usually do memes, but this more or less reflects what I felt as I watched the trailer and then did some follow-up research on IMDB:

Building McMahon reaction meme: 'A Christmas-themed action movie' 'Starring Joel Kinnaman' 'From the producers of John Wick' and finally 'Directed by John Woo'

That night I showed the trailer to Shannon and we both agreed that we must see this movie ASAP. So we did.

First things first: the trailer and the timing of the release gives the impression that this might be a darkly satirical Christmas-themed movie, with comic violence doled out while wearing a jolly sweater, sort of like Violent Night. That's not really the case. Instead, it's a tightly made high-concept operatic revenge thriller that just happens to mostly take place around Christmas. The emotions are high and the violence is especially crunchy. The real target audience is those who like to watch Die Hard over the holidays.

Here are some things I like about it:

That said, awesome as it is to see John Woo doing Hollywood movies again, this is not on the same level as his classic films like The Killer, Hard Boiled, or even Face/Off. It's a solid piece of work from someone who's been doing this kind of thing for decades.

Also, the movie is a bit of a throw-back to violent right-wing vengeance movies like Dirty Harry or Death Wish, where the lone white guy family man exacts violent deadly justice against mostly people of colour. That said, the dynamic is a bit different when the movie is made by an Asian and it's shot in Mexico City, and the rest of the cast is pretty diverse as well.

If you want a change of pace from Hallmark holiday films and appreciate some solid action done by a master of the craft, you could do a lot worse than checking out Silent Night.

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