Silent Night: Keira Knightley’s Apocalyptic Christmas review
There are tons of movies about humans trying to negotiate the post-apocalypse. Movies about the people who matter to the end of the world– although they certainly exist, with approaches as varied as Roland emmerichit’s a big disaster movie 2012 and Lars von Trier thoughtful, nihilistic Melancholy. Camille Griffin’s writer-director Silent night looks more like the latter, although it has its own approach to putting a bunch of rich and beautiful people in the darkest scenario imaginable.
It is also a Christmas themed movie, as the title suggests, and it starts with the playful energy of the British holiday flicks that came before – a likeness reinforced by the presence of Love in factis Keira Knightley. She directs the ensemble as Nell, wife of Simon (A discovery of witches‘Matthew Goode), mother of three boys and Christmas Eve hostess for a group of close friends and their partners. (The rest of the excellent cast includes Smartis Annabelle Wallis as Sandra, A series of unfortunate events‘Lucy Punch as Bella, The right placeis Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Alex, His home‘s páº¹ DÃ¬rÃsÃ¹ like James, Yoga Hosers‘Lily-Rose Depp as Sophie, and young Bunny Jojo the escape Roman Griffin Davis, who is also the son of the writer-director, as an Art).
From the start, we start to get little clues that there is more to this well-heeled gathering than the usual specter of the holiday season of gifts, Christmas carols, candy, micro-aggression among adults, and feuds between them. children. Simon frees the resident chickens because “it’s nicer if the foxes catch them first.” Sandra smugly admits that she spent her daughter’s tuition money on her glamorous dress and shoes. James reminds Nell, as she sighs at the thought of getting older, that, well, they were to get old. But now things are different.
Silent night doesn’t keep us waiting to find out what all this foreshadowing means, although our explanation for the impending apocalypse comes from the kids, which means we get a warped interpretation of what’s going on. Apparently, Earth has gathered all the pollution in a cloud of deadly poison that is slowly spreading across the planet. Once engulfed, the planet will be uninhabitable for at least 100 years. The cloud will reach the party location on Christmas morning. Additionally, the UK government generously provided every legal citizen with an ‘exit pill’, allowing them to die quickly and painlessly instead of horribly choking on toxic fumes.
The latter fact propels much of Silent nightthe drama of; almost everyone has already resigned themselves to suicide, apart from the outspoken Sophie (the only American in the group, she also recently found out she was pregnant) and the precocious, suspicious and increasingly conspiratorial. Parents in the group insist that “we are not killing our children,” but there are feelings of guilt and blame in the air, not just because of the pills they are going to administer to their offspring, but because it’s at least partly their fault that the Earth has been screwed up for future generations.
While Silent night reflects on the thorny prospect of arranging a more pleasant death for your loved ones – while highlighting the fact that not everyone is able to approach the day of the end of such a place of privilege – he also gives to his characters the opportunity to experience the full range of emotions that accompany the confrontation to the imminent end. There are dance parties (with songs on their noses: “Fame! Demands â because what a filthy animal swallows a suicide pill while drinking a lukewarm Coca-Cola? It gets exhausting and even a little tearful as the clock structure draws us closer to the end, and you start to realize that you don’t really care about the (seemingly inevitable) fate of Silent nightthe characters of. Most of them aren’t really sympathetic, with the exception of James, who is conflicted but compassionate, and Alex, who avoids any strident pettiness by throwing his sobriety aside and drowning in champagne.
It’s thanks to Art, who ends up carrying the film in large part, that one begins to wonder if the Cloud is really what the government says it is – all the evidence to the contrary, of course, but the seed of doubt is definitely planted. However, Silent night is more invested in chronicling his characters’ personal breakdowns than investigating what may be a larger mystery surrounding his story. There is a sense of unease as the film nears its grim conclusion – with a little twist at the end that sets the stage for a post-apocalyptic sequel or opens a gaping plot hole for the sake of a big one. “Gotcha! Â»Last shot. By the time you get there, you might be too disappointed to care.
Silent night arrives December 3 in theaters and on AMC +.
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