(director/writer: Camille Griffin; cinematographer: Sam Renton; editor: Pia Di Ciaula/Martin Walsh; music: Lorne Balfe; cast: Keira Knightley (Nell), Matthew Goode (Simon), Roman Griffin Davis (Art), Hardy Griffin Davis (Hardy), Gilby (Thomas Griffin Davis), Davida McKenzie (Kitty), Rufus Jones (Tony), Annabelle Wallis (Sandra), Lily-Rose Depp (Sophie), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Alex), Sopé Dìrísù (James), Lucy Punch(Bella); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Matthew Vaughn: RLJE Films; 2021-UK)

It’s an ambitious and bleak film about upper class liberals, whose characterizations were so bland.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

First time feature film cinematographer turned director Camille Griffin, in her horror/comedy film, has the horror coming from real events. She mishandles it through her somewhat flubbed execution and in her incoherent blend of making it flow smoothly into both a Christmas holiday film and an apocalyptic drama.

Silent Night follows the upper-crust couple Nell (Keira Knightley) and Simon (Matthew Goode) who have invited their closest friends to join their family – of their tuxedo dressed sons Art (Roman Griifin, child star of Jojo Rabbit), and the twins Hardy (Hardy Griffin Davis) & Thomas (Gilby Griffin Davis), all the real sons of the director – for a Christmas dinner at their posh home in the English countryside. Other guests include Nell’s sister, Sandra (Annabelle Wallis), wearing  a red-sequined, body-hugging gown, and her dull by reliable husband Tony (Rufus Jones), and her sissified daughter Kitty (Davida McKenzie). The calmest guest is the hospital doctor James (Sopé Dìrísù), who attended school with the family members and brings to the dinner his pregnant much younger girlfriend Sophie (Lily-Rose Depp). Also present is the feisty Bella (Lucy Punch) and her more cautious girlfriend, Alex (Kirby Howell-Baptiste).

A giant, toxic cloud is sweeping across the planet, the result of world neglect. Their young son Art challenges his folks for just accepting their doom and taking their government issued suicide pill in the morning, on Boxing Day, when the world supposedly will end.

It’s an ambitious and bleak film about upper class liberals, whose characterizations were so bland. It offers some wit, mostly good performances by its ensemble cast, some droll rom/com English banter, and oddly has Joycean references thrown into the black comedy and earnest satire.

Made during the intense Covid-19 period, it seems to be influenced by the dire moods of the pandemic on the public, but it’s really about the effects of climate change and the world’s failure to do something about it.

REVIEWED ON 12/16/2021  GRADE: C+