We’ve had a lot of Christmas movies this year, it feels like far more than we’ve had for a while. From the, whatever-you-want-to-call-that, Home Alone thing, to A Boy Called Christmas and 8-bit Christmas and not forgetting the horror/thriller The Advent Calendar. Well, here’s another one and it’s a good one.
Nell, Keira Knightley (“Colette”, “The Aftermath”), husband Simon, Matthew Goode (“The Colour Room”, “Four Kids and It”), twins Thomas, Gilby Griffin Davis (“Jojo Rabbit”), Hardy, Hardy Griffin Davis (“Jojo Rabbit”), and Art, Roman Griffin Davis (“Jojo Rabbit”), are having Christmas.
They’ve invited all of their closest friends: Sandra, Annabelle Wallis (“Star Trek: Discovery (TV)”, “Malignant”), her husband Tony, Rufus Jones (“Stan and Ollie”, “The Foreigner”), and daughter Kitty, Davida McKenzie (“Overwatch (Video Game)”, “Turtle-Bank Hustler (Short)”), and James, Sope Dirisu (“Mothering Sunday”, “Gangs of London (TV)”), and his young girlfriend Sophie, Lily-Rose Depp (“Voyagers”, “Crisis”).
There’s also Bella, Lucy Punch (“Motherland (TV)”, “A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV)”), and her assistant/lover Alex, Kirby Howell-Baptiste (“Cruella”, “The Good Place (TV)”).
Things start fairly normal as Nell is running around trying to cook, Art is cutting carrots and Simon is chasing chickens in the garden. But, this is no ordinary Christmas dinner, this may be their last ever Christmas dinner.
Throughout the start of Silent Night, there’s always the murmur, the feeling, that something is hanging over this party. As the friends arrive, despite best attempts by Nell to make everything happy, lovely and about forgiveness, it doesn’t take long for old truths to come to the fore.
Who has slept with who? Why hasn’t this person slept with this person? And no-one, no-one, really likes Sophie, mainly because they all really love James.
As the events outside of this middle-class party begin to seep into it, we learn what’s going on in the world through Art. We learn that the planet is f*cked, there’s a lot of swearing in Silent Night, mostly from the kids.
We didn’t listen to Greta, Art reminds us, and informs us that there’s a giant gas cloud rumbling across the planet, killing every living thing it comes into contact with. To that end, the British Government have issued Exit Pills, red pills to be taken to ensure you don’t suffer when the cloud hits your region.
Everyone at the party has made a pact, which is news to Sophie, who is pregnant and struggling with the thought of killing her, as yet, unborn child, that they will take the pills together, this evening, one last night of cheer together.
As the drinks continue to be drunk, the dancing continues to be danced, Art is struggling with the thought of taking his Red Pill. He sneaks on his mobile to watch information about the effects of the cloud, and the pill.
He asks James, a cancer doctor, how he knows that someone hasn’t made a mistake, how do they know that the best scientist isn’t dead and the lazy scientist has taken over? Art doesn’t want to take the pill anymore, he says he’ll stay with Sophie and hold her hand as they both die together.
Naturally, Nell and Simon aren’t happy about this, at all. As Art throws accusations at them about killing their child, not loving him etc, they struggle to justify their answers, struggle to convince Art that this is what’s best, obviously as parents they don’t want him to suffer.
Art runs away, Simon gives chase, and they both come across a car in the woods, filled with a family, empty Red Pill packets everywhere and everyone dead, even a baby in its car seat. Art screams and screams, just as a small, toxic twister pasts him and he obviously inhales some of the fumes.
Simon grabs him and runs back to the house. It’s time. All the families return to their rooms with their pills. But not everything goes as planned, not everyone is in the position they should be.
Silent Night is written and directed by Camille Griffin (“Vincent (Short)”, “Feeder (Short)”) and it’s really very good. It’s a Christmas story, in so much as there’s lots of Christmas music, Michael Bublé in particular, but otherwise it’s a harsh take on a potential reality due to our own inability to avert the impending climate crisis.
Takes on abortion? You could argue that. Takes on infidelity and love? That’s a tick. Attacks on the Tories? Well, add a “Br” to the name of the pill, or just listen when Bella and Sandra are drunkenly saying how crap they are as a government, tick, tick, tick.
However, what makes Silent Night, whilst the movie is filled with stars, it’s Roman Griffin Davis who steals the show. As he takes us from room-to-room, person-to-person, family-to-family, he portrays emotions far beyond his young-years.
Between Roman and Matthew Goode they push the movie that bit further. Their performances are wonderful, filled with emotion, joy and sadness, together with the bluntness and, needed, lack of subtlety in the script, Silent Night works.
3rd December 2021
THE QUICK SELL
Nell, Simon, and their son Art are ready to welcome friends and family for what promises to be a perfect Christmas gathering. Perfect except for one thing: everyone is going to die.
CAST & CREW
Annabelle Wallis, Camille Griffin, Davida McKenzie, Gilby Griffin Davis, Hardy Griffin Davis, Keira Knightley, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lily-Rose Depp, Lucy Punch, Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Rufus Jones, Sope Dirisu