Silent Night (2023) parents guide

Silent Night (2023) Parent Guide

It's not just bad; it's also boring.

Overall D

Theaters: After his young son is killed in a crossfire between gangs, a tormented father plans his revenge.

Release date December 1, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content B
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Silent Night (2023) rated R? The MPAA rated Silent Night (2023) R for strong bloody violence, drug use and some language.

Run Time: 104 minutes

Parent Movie Review

When a Christmas Eve shootout spills onto the streets of Los Angeles, Brian’s (Joel Kinnaman) young son is killed in front of him by a stray bullet. Chasing the shooters’ cars on foot, Brian tries to get his revenge on the spot, only to receive a bullet straight to the throat. After a lengthy hospital stay, Brian returns home unable to speak, or to do much except plot his vengeance. Months of preparation go by as he builds the combat skills he’ll need to take this fight to the street gangs that destroyed his family.

The point of revenge movies is, as I understand it, revenge. Bloody, graphic revenge on some deservingly monstrous specimen of the human species, delivered by a steely-nerved everyman who’s just been pushed too far. So why on earth does this movie take the better part of 45 minutes for our silent protagonist to actually get on with the critically important acts of revenge? Sure, there’s his little bullet-swallowing trick in the first five minutes, but after that the movie consists solely of flashbacks (playing in the yard with his kid, touching stuff to be sure) and a really dull training montage that consumes half the runtime. Am I supposed to believe that, after spending a few months watching YouTube tutorials in his garage, this guy is now some kind of super-soldier? In any event, it torpedoes the pacing of the film. I literally fell asleep for a second at some point in that seemingly endless sea of flashbacks and montages. The movie picks up speed when the action kicks in – or else the audience would be in dire need of caffeine. The fights aren’t anything to write home about, but they’re not slouching either. There are some solid stunts and hard work on screen but they just don’t shine as much as they ought.

Silent Night contains some violence, and some of it is moderately graphic, but it lacks the creativity to be truly disturbing. It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect for the genre – a bit mild, if anything. The other content categories are similar. They’re unpleasant enough to earn a low grade, but occur at a much lower intensity than you might expect. Given the almost complete absence of dialogue throughout the film (silent protagonist, remember), there are only two f-bombs in the script. There are brief scenes of cocaine and heroin use, but just one of each. Bad, but infrequent.

But even if this film set a record for nudity, profanity, and intravenous drug use, it would still be broadly uninteresting. It sticks too closely to the formula, and as a result is utterly indistinguishable from any number of other same-same revenge flicks. It’s not bad enough to be fun, not good enough to be, well, good, and not different enough to be worth watching.

Directed by John Woo. Starring Joel Kinnaman, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Kid Cudi. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release December 1, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for Silent Night (2023)

Silent Night (2023)
Rating & Content Info

Why is Silent Night (2023) rated R? Silent Night (2023) is rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence, drug use and some language.

Violence: People are frequently shot, stabbed, and struck by vehicles. A man is decapitated by a forklift. A child is shot and killed. A scene graphically depicts surgery. Several individuals are set on fire. Severed fingers are delivered to someone as a threat.
Sexual Content: A partially clothed couple are seen kissing intensely.
Profanity: There are two sexual expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking, snorting cocaine, and injecting heroin.

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There is no shortage of revenge movies, including titles like Bloodshot, Peppermint, The Equalizer, Death Wish, Rambo: Last Blood, Taken, and of course my favorite, John Wick. If you share my weird fondness for a truly entertaining Christmas bloodbath, try Violent Night.