Christmas is always seen as a time for joy, love, and giving. The bright lights, the warm nights snuggled up with the family all scenes that are all too familiar to avid film lovers.
When it comes to a holiday film there are many tropes that appear on our screens to signify that this is indeed a festive film. So there cannot be much more of a glaring signpost for director Will Throne than calling his festive thriller after one of the most recognisable Christmas carols known to man.
However, Silent Night is by no means your average Christmas film. There is no fun run-in with Santa Claus, there is no magic that makes the impossible seem possible and there is certainly no Christmas cheer. This gritty British gangster film has more similarities to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels than it does Jingle All The Way. The film follows Mark (Bradley Taylor) a convicted criminal just out of prison who is attempting to reconnect with his daughter and hopes to give her a Christmas to remember.
Down, out and looking for work he pumps into an old friend from the inside – Alan (Cary Crankson) – who persuades him to return to a life of crime in order to get the money he needs to provide for his daughter. After pushing back for a moment, it doesn’t take long for Mark to fall back into his old ways, but this time with Alan in toe. It is Alan’s haphazard approach to the law which not only gets Mark in some deep water with his employer Caddy (Frank Harper) but also the Metropolitan Police.
With some gruesome parts to the film, it is the bleak and dark sense of humour which really enhances the film and the moral struggle that Mark has with wanting to do right by his daughter but also wanting to earn some money.
As previously mentioned there is a feel of the early Guy Ritchie British Gangster flicks to Silent Night, and that is certainly not a bad thing to be aiming for. And what Thorne has been able to do is pull the best elements of films like Snatch and blend it together with something akin to Fight Club and produce a film that has you fully invested in its protagonist. What makes this an interesting viewing is that when you think you know where it is going there is a shift and right till the end it keeps you guessing.
Like the age-old debate of whether Die Hard is a Christmas film, Silent Night will certainly fall into that category as it is a film that doesn’t have much Chritsmasy going on and is only set during the festive period. But if this is the way Christmas films are going, then I am on board.
Dir: Will Thorne
Scr: Will Thorne
Prd: Verity Fiction, Mark Lacey, Bradley Taylor, Will Thorne, Judd Tilyard
DOP: Tobias Scavenius
Music: Keiran Merrick
Run Time: 93 Minutes
Silent Night is out In UK Cinemas from 11th December, on Digital Download from 14th December and on DVD from 28th December