The party disperses to their individual beds after loading themselves on mince pies and wine, so that the loved ones can enjoy their final peaceful minutes together before popping the pill. As a result, some of the best comedy in the film emerges: What’s the best way to say your final farewell? If you’re going to drink one more drink to wash down that tablet, it has to be flawless, right? Isn’t it the perfect temperature for chilling? Isn’t there a limit? It’s all so depressing that it’s actually funny.
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By the end, “Silent Night” has turned a corner and has descended into full drama. Griffin Davis’ Art is the only one who believes there is a way out of this coming tragedy. He rebels against the Exit Pill, raising the possibility that his parents will force-feed it to him. Director Griffin coaxes an outstanding performance from her son, portraying the terror that faces him as exactly that: horror, whereas “JoJo Rabbit” arguably glossed over its traumas. It’s as if Griffin set out to prove that this is what her kid can really do, something that Taika Waititi’s film failed to do. But for what purpose? Griffin does not relate the apathy displayed by everyone in consenting to end their lives to a bigger societal issue: Our collective apathy, particularly towards climate change, may have doomed us all from the start. Is she trying to make an anti-government statement by giving out the Exit Pills? Is there any particular criticism of the British stiff upper lip?
“Silent Night” has the guts to confront terrible realities, and a moment in which Griffin Davis spasms in anguish after being exposed to the gas is absolutely terrifying. Despite all of this, the film lacks a point of view. Despite Griffin’s claim that she wrote the picture before hearing of Covid-19, it looks to be an allegory. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that’s brought up the kinds of complex concerns on show, but it’s unclear what this allegory is trying to be. “Silent Night” shines like tinsel, but it’s as frail as it is.
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