#TIFF21: “SILENT NIGHT” REVIEW
By Amanda Gilmore
We’ve seen many Films about Christmas, but none quite like this. It’s Christmas Day and also the last living night for humans on Earth. The Government and Scientists have proclaimed that poison will sweep across the world, wiping out humanity. A group of upper-class friends decide to spend their last Christmas and night together at a cosy house in the English Countryside. They are part of the fortunate who get to choose between taking a Government-approved ‘exit’ pill or letting the poison take them.
Silent Night takes on the challenge of the Dramedy. Feature-Debut Writer-Director Camille Griffin successfully navigates these tonal changes with control and ease. Her Script is laced with deep themes on climate change and wealth. Typically with apocalyptic-type films, it’s zombies or aliens who are to blame for the end of the world. However, Griffin blames the more likely culprit, climate change. In a powerful scene set around the dinner table, Art (Roman Griffin Davis) informs the guests that this is happening because the Earth is sick of consuming the garbage we have given it. The theme of wealth is highlighted in regards to the ‘exit’ pill. In one scene, Simon (Matthew Goode) informs his son, Art, how they’re lucky to be given the pill as others weren’t.
Additionally, it’s through wealth that we get these comedic, self-absorbed yet lovable characters. Griffin has assembled a strong cast consisting of Keira Knightley, Goode, Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Sope Dirisu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Lucy Punch. Each is perfectly cast for their respected characters but Wallis and Griffin Davis are standouts.
Wallis is hilarious as self-centred Sandra. She believes everyone is in love with her yet yearns for the love of her only daughter. She truly knocks it out of the park. Then there is young Griffin Davis, who you’ll remember from Jojo Rabbit. Here he plays a cheeky, intelligent boy who is frightened to be facing his death. Both Knightley and Goode give touching performances as parents spending their last night with their children.
Overall, Silent Night is a delightful British Dramedy that turns the traditional Christmas Film on its head.
Silent Night screens at TIFF ’21:
Thu, Sep 16 at 7 PM at Roy Thompson Hall
Fri, Sep 17 at 5 PM on Digital TIFF Bell Lightbox
Sat, Sep 18 at 7 PM on Digital TIFF Bell Lightbox
#TIFF19: “JOJO RABBIT”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is an impressionable young boy who is part of the Hitler Youth. He is a bit shy, and tends to talk most to his imaginary best friend, Adolf (Taika Waititi). He supports all of the Führer’s ideas and despises the Jews. But his beliefs are put to the test when he discovers that a young Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) is hiding in the attic of his home.
Wow. That was my immediate reaction after watching Jojo Rabbit. Waititi’s anti-war satire is an incredible, unforgettable experience and easily one of the best things I have watched so far at #TIFF19. Full stop.
It is outrageously-hilarious and deeply-tragic, often in the exact same scene. Waititi walks a fine line here, effectively balancing the light hearted, satirical elements with the horrors of war, never once shying away from the human cost of this horrible period in history. And no, he is not sympathetic towards any of the Nazis. The period detail is exquisite, and his reinterpretation of recognizable pop songs is unique to say the least. The stacked cast of talent is amazing in their roles, each carving out their own memorable moments. And while Waititi is terrific portraying Hitler in the most asinine and ridiculous way possible, it is first-time actor Davis who steals the show and your heart.
JOJO RABBIT screens during TIFF at the following times:
Sunday September 8, 9:30pm @ Princess of Wales [World Premiere]
Monday September 9, 10:00am @ Elgin Theatre
Friday September 13, 9:30pm @ Winter Garden Theatre
Sunday September 15, 12:00pm @ Ryerson Theatre