Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Avenging Silence Gets a Plot Summary

The Neon Demon - Nicolas Winding Refn and Elle Fanning on set

With his genre-hopping tendencies, amazing visual style and love of blood-soaked carnage, Nicolas Winding Refn is one of those filmmakers everyone is always watching with a lot of anticipation. Last year's Refn flick The Neon Demon may not have lived up to everyone's expectations, but that won't stop folks from being excited about whatever project the always-unpredictable director has coming down the pipeline.

Thus far news has been scarce regarding Refn's next film, a promised "big extravagant action movie" to be written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the duo responsible for scripting the last four James Bond flicks. Just the idea of Refn directing a big action movie written by the guys responsible for helping craft 007's recent adventures was enough to get a lot of people stoked. Those folks may be even more stoked after reading the plot details for Refn's promised new film.

Playlist has a full summary for the new Refn project, titled The Avenging Silence. Listen to this: There will be a mute protagonist, wild plot twists, Yakuza and an "existential journey." Sounds very Nicolas Winding Refn. For more, read the full synopsis below:

The spy was one of the leading spies in Europe. An injury inflicted to his vocal cords during a failed mission six years ago left him mute, forcing him to leave his profession. Now, six years later, he is sought out and put on confidential assignment by a former Yakuza, now a retired Japanese businessman in exile in France, to track down and kill the head of the most dangerous Yakuza family in Japan.

Afraid of flying, our spy anonymously boards a cargo ship headed for Tokyo. An onboard explosion sinks the ship and our spy finds himself washed ashore on a life raft in southern Japan. As a mute, our spy must silently journey through Japan seeking 4 clues – symbolizing conquest, war, famine, and death – which will guide him to the unknown location of the Yakuza boss. Meanwhile, the Yakuza boss, known for his 2004 mass slaughter of Yakuza members who had turned against him, is believed to be plotting to reenter the Japanese underworld after living in his own surreptitious world in the mountains, void of all technology. This way of life becomes an obsession for the Yakuza boss. Rumors spread that he had committed suicide years ago but escaped prisoners from his hidden camp told stories of his plan for a comeback. Now rival Yakuza families suspect he is forming a master plan to return, a plan that unburies the most infamous story of Yakuza betrayal.

Our spy finds himself on an existential journey through Japan in search of pieces to the puzzle that will lead him to a confrontation with the ultimate Yakuza boss in a terrifying conclusion.

Only God Forgives - Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling on set
Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling on the set of Only God Forgives

Nicolas Winding Refn diving into the world of international spies-turned-assassins and mysterious Yakuza bosses known for mass slaughter sounds like a recipe for carnage on a level seldom seen. In addition to the expected beautifully-orchestrated bloody violence, there will no doubt be a lot of head-scratching symbolism involved as well.

On the one hand, the idea of a director as quirky and original as Nicolas Winding Refn bringing his particular sensibilities to a large-scale action movie written by a couple of Bond-movie screenwriters sounds like a dream scenario. Refn is still revered for the way he revitalized the car chase genre with his movie Drive, a film that brought a sense of retro artfulness and quiet humanity to a form that seemed to have become completely worn out, and hopes will be high that he can do the same for the Bond-style spy genre.

On the other hand, Refn's track record is spotty enough that you have to wonder what kind of mess an ambitious-sounding project like The Avenging Silence could turn out to be. Refn kept things relatively tight and small-scale on Drive, and the result was something incredibly memorable. The more Refn indulges himself, as with his Drive follow-ups Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon, the less-well-received his films tend to be. The Avenging Silence sounds like a great opportunity for self-indulgence, but maybe Refn can find the right mix of style and self-control here and create something memorable again.

The Avenging Silence doesn't have a release date yet. We will let you know when that changes.

Source: The Playlist

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