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TIFF 2021 Review: Silent Night

On the eve of the world coming to the end a group of friends come together to fulfill a suicide pact.

Nell (Keira Knightley) and Simon (Matthew Goode) are preparing to have a dinner party assisted by their son Art (Roman Griffin Davis).  The mix of alcohol and stressful circumstances result in a number of revealed secrets and emotional insecurities that threaten to derail the final hurrah. A global natural catastrophe is exterminating human life, and the hosts and guests have decided to take government-issued suicide pills in the presence of each other rather than alone.

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The two standout performances belong to Matthew Goode who plays a father trying to remain strong for his family during their final hours together and Roman Griffin Davis as the conscientious objector.  The rest of the cast are caricatures prone to melodrama and swearing.  An interesting narrative choice was to actually show the oncoming natural disaster rather than staying only with the characters which brings legitimacy to their final solution decision.

What is problematic is that filmmaker Camille Griffin desperately tries to impress like her cinematic personas.  The personal interaction does not feel organic but conflict for the sake of conflict, the constant use of F-word is a one-trick pony, and the twists are failed attempts to bring gravitas to the shallow proceedings.  What will be curious to see is the reaction and interpretation of the closing shot considering the real-world controversy surrounding the legitimacy of vaccinations for COVID-19.

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9-18, 2021, and for more information visit    

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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