Silent Night: Film Review

Altitude

This holiday season, Camille Griffin brings us a Christmas film with an apocalyptic twist – yes, really – so it’s probably not one to watch if you want to get in the festive spirit.

This ensemble black comedy/horror follows Nell (Keira Knightley) and her husband Simon (Matthew Goode) as they have their friends over for Christmas. It is their last hurrah as a toxic gas cloud is approaching and set to sweep over the land the following day. The group has to decide whether or not to take the government-issued suicide pill for a painless way out before the cloud arrives.

This film was shot in February 2020 and Griffin, who wrote the screenplay, could never have imagined the parallels her directorial debut would have with real-world events. Watching Silent Night, you can’t help but wonder what you would do in that situation – believe the government and take the Exit pill or wait and see if the cloud is as deadly as it’s proclaimed to be.

I was thrilled by the concept – it’s like a festive This is the End with upper-class Brits – and believed it held a lot of promise. I was really keen on it at the start; I enjoyed meeting all the different characters and figuring out their relationships and was amused listening to them having a bitch and gossip about each other. The arrivals section was the funniest and most well-written part of the film and I had high hopes for the ensuing day. I didn’t dislike what came next but I found it tonally uneven and felt like Griffin struggled to strike the right balance between the comedy and horror. The comedy practically tails off as the horror ramps up and I would have preferred the final act to be slightly more light-hearted.

Silent Night is very much an ensemble piece and every cast member brings something to the table. One of my favourites was Annabelle Wallis as the bitchy and self-involved Sandra who is admittedly annoying but still the most interesting as she decides to clear the air about certain issues on her final day on Earth. Knightley plays the warm, charming and likeable host, Goode gets a big emotional moment as her husband and Jojo Rabbit’s Roman Griffin Davis (the son of Griffin and cinematographer Ben Davis) is impressive here as the main opponent of the Exit pill. His real brothers – and the director’s twins Hardy and Gilby – play his onscreen brothers too. The child stars are excellent but I wish them swearing wasn’t played for laughs quite so much.

They all have solid support from Sope Dirisu as their sensible doctor friend James, Lily-Rose Depp as his significantly younger girlfriend Sophie; Lucy Punch as the outspoken, brutally honest friend Bella, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as her awkward girlfriend Alex, and Rufus Jones as Sandra’s “boring” husband Tony. They all do a fantastic job, even though their characters aren’t particularly deep and there were a few aspects of their backstories I would have liked elaborated on.

I came away from Silent Night not knowing quite what to make of it. It’s a mixed bag and quite an odd piece. Some people may find it hits too close to home due to the pandemic, but others may revel in this subversive and bleak anti-Christmas film.

In cinemas Friday 3rd December

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Voyagers: Film Review

Courtesy of Sky Cinema

Voyagers was originally due to be released in cinemas in July but then it disappeared off the schedule and has now been dumped on Sky Cinema.

The sci-fi thriller, written and directed by Neil Burger, is set in the year 2063, when a planet is discovered that could possibly sustain human life. A journey to the planet takes 86 years so the astronauts who go will need to reproduce on the ship and their grandchildren will be the ones who investigate the planet. Naturally, not many people want to sign up for this job, so children are made via genetic donors and raised with the sole purpose of the mission, supervised by Richard (Colin Farrell). The ship takes off when they are teenagers and everything runs smoothly until they discover they are being drugged by “the blue”, a drink that keeps them docile and rule-abiding. All hell breaks loose when they stop taking the blue.

I’m being deliberately reductive, but this film is basically The Lord of the Flies in space, as chaos reigns in the ship, all sense of law and order and the mission are lost and most of the teenagers give into their darker, more carnal desires to fight, kill and have sex, with the evil Zach (Fionn Whitehead) leading the charge of the savage pack, who ignore the pleas of the sensible chief officer Chris (Tye Sheridan) and chief medical officer Sela (Lily-Rose Depp).

I really liked the premise but I thought the story could have gone in a more interesting direction. The intriguing set-up had so much potential which was squandered in favour of a storyline that essentially descended into the sensible and reasonable crew members being hunted by the bigger and wilder pack. It wasn’t boring or anything, but I couldn’t shake the sense that there was a better story in there somewhere and more compelling themes to be explored.

Whitehead plays a convincing villain, a nasty piece of work who is so charming that he manages to gain control of the majority and get them to follow through on his orders, no matter how brutal they are. Sheridan and Depp are the voices of reason and the ones who try to get the mission back on track, although they know they’ll have to get their hands dirty to achieve their goal. They don’t have as much of a showy role as Whitehead but their performances were fine.

Voyagers has some solid thrills and is simply an okay watch – it had the potential to be so much greater than it is and ended up being a bit too familiar and simplistic.

On Sky Cinema from Friday 8th October

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The King: Film Review

I love Timothee Chalamet so I decided to check out The King even though the subject isn’t really my cup of tea, and while he is as amazing as ever, the film is long and largely quite dull.

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Met Gala 2017: Best & Worst Dressed

In case you have been hiding under a rock, it was fashion’s BIG event last night – the Met Gala. Unlike the Oscars etc, where the red carpet looks are just a bonus, the Met Gala is ALL about the red carpet fashion. Here are were my favourites:

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Planetarium: LFF Film Review

planet

I was intrigued to see Planetarium by Rebecca Zlotowski because it’d never seen Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Johnny Depp and French actress Vanessa Paradis, on the big screen nor had I seen Natalie Portman speaking predominantly French in a movie.

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Will celebs stop commenting on the Amber Heard & Johnny Depp scandal please?

This is not about taking sides. Nobody knows what goes on behind the closed doors of a relationship, NO ONE. So why do Johnny Depp‘s friends and family think it’s a good idea to publicly defend him in the midst of these domestic abuse allegations?! It’s just wrong and they need to shut up.

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