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A potential trend is emerging: Actors being forced to shut up in movies.
The new trailer for John Woo’s dialogue-free thriller Silent Night (below) teases a protagonist played by Joel Kinnaman who’s unable to speak. (“Nothing speaks louder than revenge,” reads the movie’s tagline.) The trailer follows Hulu’s similarly dialogue-free hit alien invasion thriller No One Will Save You.
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Both are coming, ironically enough, during the SAG-AFTRA strike, which has actors dutifully not speaking to the press about their studio projects.
It’s not clear if dialogue-free movies can correctly be called a trend yet (the old media rule of thumb is it takes at least three examples to use the T-word). But it’s interesting that roughly 100 years after the silent movie era that at least a couple of filmmakers are exploring feature-length storytelling without leaning on dialogue at around the same time.
“The whole movie is without dialogue,” Woo told Vulture. “It allowed me to use visuals to tell the story, to tell how the character feels. We are using music instead of language. And the movie is all about sight and sound.” In the film, a man goes on Christmas Eve killing spree to avenge his son’s death.
While No One Will Save You, released Sept. 22, from filmmaker Brian Duffield, told the story of a young woman (Kaitlyn Dever) living in a remote house under siege by alien invaders.
“It was a character thing where this person really wants a community and doesn’t think she’s deserving of one,” Duffield told Entertainment Weekly. “It felt like [not having dialogue] just amplified her character. Most of the movie there’s not really a good reason for her to talk because she’s trying so hard to not make a sound. She’s not going to say, ‘It’s an alien in my house!’ Also, when you have Kaitlyn Dever, she doesn’t need to say anything. She can monologue with her eyes in a really impressive way.”
Of course, there have been other movies with little to no dialogue over the years. The A Quiet Place films had fairly minimal dialogue. Robert Redford’s 2013 film All Is Lost was without dialogue, aside from some voiceover. And several foreign titles such as 2013’s Moebius and 2010’s Le Quattro Volte.
Silent Night is scheduled for release in theaters Dec. 1 from Lionsgate.
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