Action director John Woo is back in the spotlight with his latest film, Silent Night, and he has some strong opinions about the current trend of superhero movies. In an interview with The New Yorker, Woo expressed his distaste for big special effects and comic book-based films, stating that he prefers the type of cinema found in Martin Scorsese’s movies. Woo’s preference for “real cinema” over the dominance of superhero movies in the industry reflects a sentiment shared by other filmmakers, including Scorsese himself.
When asked about recent action movies that he enjoyed, Woo pointed to the 2016 neo-Western film Hell or High Water, directed by David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan. This choice aligns with his taste for more traditional and character-driven storytelling in the action genre.
Woo’s comments echo those made by Scorsese in 2019, when the renowned director famously described superhero movies as being akin to theme parks rather than genuine cinematic experiences. This ongoing debate between “real movies” and superhero movies continues to spark discussions within the filmmaking community.
However, Woo’s return to Hollywood with Silent Night marks a departure from the superhero-dominated landscape, as the film delves into a gripping story of vengeance and loss. Silent Night follows the journey of Brian Godluck, played by Joel Kinnaman, as he enters the underworld to avenge the tragic death of his young son on Christmas Eve. What sets this film apart is its unique approach of telling the story without dialogue, a stylistic choice that adds depth and nuance to the narrative.
For Woo, Silent Night presents an exciting challenge and an opportunity to showcase his visual storytelling skills. The absence of dialogue allows him to emphasize the power of cinematic visuals in conveying a compelling and emotional narrative. This approach aligns with his previous work, such as Face/Off and Red Cliff, where visuals played a crucial role in driving the storytelling.
As Woo returns to Hollywood after an extended absence, his enthusiasm for the script and the creative freedom it offers is evident. His excitement for Silent Night underscores his dedication to delivering a fresh and innovative cinematic experience for audiences.
In a film landscape dominated by larger-than-life superhero spectacles, Silent Night stands out as a testament to the enduring appeal of traditional, character-driven storytelling. Woo’s commitment to telling a powerful and visually captivating story serves as a reminder of the diverse and thought-provoking narratives that cinema has to offer.
While superhero movies continue to dominate the box office and capture the imagination of audiences worldwide, Silent Night and filmmakers like John Woo remind us of the value of cinematic storytelling that transcends the boundaries of genre and style. With Silent Night, Woo seeks to reaffirm the timeless appeal of genuine human experiences and emotions conveyed through the art of visual storytelling. As the debate rages on between traditional cinema and the rise of superhero movies, Silent Night stands as a powerful testament to the enduring impact and importance of storytelling through the lens of traditional cinema.