After witnessing the brutal murder of his son during a drive-by shooting, Brian (Joel Kinnaman) instantly chases after the men involved. However, during a showdown, Brian is gunned down and badly wounded. The results of the chase and his wounds leave Brian recovering in the hospital and permanently unable to speak. Detective Dennis Vassell (Kid Cudi) from the gang enforcement unit visits Brian while he is asleep, leaving his card on a counter.
Returning home and recovering, Brian continues to come to grips with the recent loss and even replays the tragic event in his mind. Knowing that those responsible are still on the loose births a desire to get the ultimate revenge on those responsible, and he contacts Detective Dennis Vassell. However, when he arrives at the Police Station, he spots a few wanted posters, including the man responsible for taking away his voice. Brian takes photos of those he recognises and creates a target list filled with naughty people. Training himself in the arts of fighting and using dangerous weaponry, including handheld guns, Brian will prove that his actions can speak louder than words.
Silent Night is an action film directed by John Woo, who, for many movie lovers, needs no general introduction given his resume, which includes Face/Off, Hard Target, MI:2,and a personal favourite guilty pleasure of mine, Broken Arrow.In Silent Night, not only does John Woo return to provide brainless moments of action, but he also delivers a highly risky film that is different to his previous line of titles. John Woo hasn’t lost his touch in the action department, particularly with fast cars, shootouts, and slow-motion action. At times, it does feel like viewers will need to be patient through scenes before they are graced with some of the action entertainment.
Sure, I accept the plot outline resembles The Punisher; however, what’s massively different is that this film does not include an ounce of dialogue. Because of this, the film relies more on the leading performances to shine dramatically, emotionally, and through the action. For the most part, the lack of dialogue didn’t faze me, apart from a couple of scenes that felt either slow or hard to accept, including that Brian’s wife would send her husband an SMS while in the same house together. While I can’t say I’m a significant fan of actor Joel Kinnaman, I found his craft here enjoyable and suitable. Another aspect that helps with the lack of dialogue is the touching and gripping score from Marco Beltrami, which also worked well for most of the screen time.
Overall, having Director John Woo return behind the camera is welcoming and exciting. He once again provides brainless moments of action. Still, to my surprise, this time, he has also delivered something entirely different and unexpected, bringing a story with more drama, heart and an entire film with zero dialogue (hence the title!). Silent Night’s story might not be anything new- one man vows vengeance on those who have hurt him and his family- but the fun action sequences and the Director setting himself a new challenge are still enjoyable, and long-term fans will continue to be ‘wooed’.