It’s the season. Well almost. And maybe that’s why AMC + and RLJE recently rushed in and picked up the new vacation-themed comedy-drama. Silent night market (at least nationally) ahead of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival tonight. Who doesn’t love a good ol ‘Christmas movie, perhaps the most reliable genre to feel good about?
Well this one is definitely a twist on tradition as it focuses on a gathering of high society British family and friends as they settle in for their holiday dinner knowing it will be their last. dinner of their life. With a deadly cloud slowly moving towards the world, it is now heading straight for the awe-inspiring English estate of Simon (Matthew Goode) and his wife Nell (Keira Knightley) who have invited a bunch of merry creators on their final night. on earth as the massive cloud begins to invade humanity like a drop. The first writer / director of feature films Camille Griffin wanted to use the holidays and the threat of environmental disaster as a way to examine the privileged British class and their reactions to such an impending event. How will they cope? What sort of humanity will be up to the occasion?
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But do not get me wrong. This isn’t necessarily the ultimate Christmas movie of all time like a Christmas party. On the beach meets Will. Nope. In fact, watching these revelers interact makes it seem like they have, for the most part, long accepted their impending doom and are determined to make the most of it. With a catchy soundtrack that includes some classic tunes from the season (Feliz Navidad by Jose Feleciano for one), plus a rock out, dance your socks off the stage set to “Fame” (“I’ll live forever – remember my name”), Griffin sets a fiery tone for much, it is until reality sets in, pushed to the fore by Art, the young son of Nell and Simon, who challenges the idea that it’s inevitable that everyone agrees to die. His anguish grows more and more during the night, as does his determination to cheat fate.
The bottom line is that the UK government has given red packs of ‘Exit’ pills, a suicide order that will allow everyone the chance to die with dignity on their own schedule, rather than the horrible, slow death caused. by the exposure to the cloud which is described by the presenters. The art is memorably played by Roman Griffin Davis who was also unforgettable as Jo Jo Rabbit and is instantly recognizable the moment he hits the screen here. His real brothers, twins Hardy Griffin Davis and Gilby Griffin Davis are also part of this family and wonderfully quirky.
The ensemble is an exceptional group of British actors including Annabelle Wallis as Sandra, Lily-Rose Depp as Sophie, Sope Dirisu as James, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Alex, Lucy Punch as Bella, Rufus Jones as Tony and Davida McKenzie as Kitty , an ethereal vision in her lovely white dress for the occasion (she is Thomasin McKenzie’s younger sister in case you were wondering). Trudie Styler, also a producer here, is in it as well as Nicole. All come in and out, clearly a tight group of friends ala The big thrill. They Choose to be together on this one last night, but each faces things from their own separate point of view. Considering this was written before Covid but is coming out now (probably in December, why not?) In the shadow of this unprecedented global pandemic, it takes on a new urgency and a feeling that it is not that far-fetched . Maybe we are all doomed to fail and we should start to figure out how we will cope in the end. One particularly memorable scene involves a poignant final goodbye via zooming in to Nell’s mom, Art’s grandmother, and the kids as the family try to keep their upper lip stiff as they talk to Grandma, to the hundreds. miles away, which is about to discover the cloud in itself. There is a real feeling of melancholy.
The title of the film, Silent night Obviously has a Christmas backdrop, but works on other levels and allows for a haunting rendition of the song sung on the soundtrack by Birdy right after the knockout movie ends, a real keeper who’ll get you talking. I’m curious if they ever thought of calling it IT WAS A wonderful life.
In addition to Styler, the producers are CÃ©line Rattray and Matthew Vaughn.