Cannes 2023 Review: PROJECT SILENCE, Satisfying South Korean Action Thriller

Contributor; Mexico City, Mexico (@EricOrtizG)
Cannes 2023 Review: PROJECT SILENCE, Satisfying South Korean Action Thriller

Project Silence, part of the Midnight section at the Cannes International Film Festival, is genre cinema in its purest form. It caused a good number of people to leave the Agnès Varda movie hall, something that would never have happened, for example, at Fantastic Fest or Mórbido Fest.

South Korean director Kim Tae-gon’s film introduces several characters who, although they cannot imagine it, will soon have to face an extraordinary situation, typical of genre cinema with a sci-fi touch: on a bridge near the airport, a man driving recklessly while doing a live stream, causes a spectacular car accident, randomly releasing a group of dogs – made with good CGI – that are part of a secret military project. The dogs eventually become programmed to attack the survivors of the chaos.

Project Silence is a large-scale action thriller, in the vein of American blockbusters. Coming from South Korea, its immediate reference is Train to Busan, with which it shares a screenwriter, not only because of its form but also because of some of its themes. Here the main characters are also a father and his little daughter. 

The father (Lee Sun-kyun) has a political position and his selfishness is constantly exposed. In the security department where he works, in fact, they approved the secret program that now puts them in danger. As he, his daughter and others – the classic colorful rascal, a scientist, a golfer and her assistant and an elderly couple – are surrounded by dangerous dogs, on a collapsing bridge during a foggy night, the guy prioritizes saving his own skin.

As expected, though, this character will find redemption. Certainly, everything is very similar to what happens in Train to Busan.

Project Silence puts its emphasis on a government that leaves its citizens to their fate. Though the film lacks any truly extraordinary or ultra-violent action set piece, the strangers forced to work as a team deliver an entertaining climax and some decent emotional moments.

Adding to the heart of Project Silence is the background of the dogs, in particular that of its alpha female, aligning with what was seen just a few weeks ago in the Rocket Raccoon story in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: cruel experimentation on animals, for military and economic purposes in the South Korean case. Project Silence is not on level with the aforementioned films – nor with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with which it also has elements in common – but it’s a satisfactory genre exponent.

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CannesCannes 2023Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3Kim Tae-gonLee Sun-kyunProject SilenceTrain to Busan

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