The Reel Review


A tormented father rendered mute from a gunshot to his throat seeks revenge against the gang whose stray bullet killed his young son in a Christmas Eve drive-by shooting. John Kinnaman (For All Mankind, The Suicide Squad) stars in this violent action/crime drama from director John Woo.

Catalina Sandino Moreno and John Kinnaman in Silent Night

Ok so it’s a John Woo film – you didn’t come for the story – you came for the high-octane action. Even so, with a mute main character that means there is no dialogue! It’s a bold choice, taking away the protagonist’s ability to verbalize his pain – the literal “silent” in Silent Night. So the action should be off the chain, right? Not necessarily.

John Kinnaman in Silent Night

The first hour is focused on seeing Kinnaman train and evolve from a grieving dad into a one-man killing machine, peppered with flashbacks of happier days with his son and wife. Catalina Sandino Moreno is way underutilized as his wife who leaves him after failing to get him to process his grief, with Kid Cudi as the police detective who doesn’t start doing his job until the third act. Those final 30 minutes is when the film finally comes to life with shootouts, choreographed hand-to-hand combat and car crashes, and some of it is well done, but as revenge thrillers go, this one is depressing and still pretty average.


Silent Night is director John Woo’s first American film since 2003’s Paycheck.

• John Woo’s daughter, Angeles Woo, plays a policewoman caught in the middle of a gang shootout.

Catalina Sandino Moreno in 2004’s Maria Full of Grace

• Catalina Sandino Moreno became the first Colombian nominated for an acting Oscar when she landed a Best Actress nomination for 2004’s Maria Full of Grace, about a drug mule working for a trafficking ring.


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