The Avenging Silence: New Details Emerge for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Action Thriller

Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn's next film is an action thriller, The Avenging Silence. Here are some early plot details...

Whether they’re about violent British prisoners, Los Angeles models or Bangkok gangsters, Nicolas Winding Refn’s movies are reliably low on dialogue and high on saturated, sometimes unnerving images. That style is likely to continue in Refn’s next movie, which is described as an action thriller about a mute spy on a mission in Japan.

The Danish director has been saying for over a year now that he wanted to make some kind of spy movie, and although some of his projects have inevitably struggled to bear fruit in the past – his planned remake of Logan’s Run is one example – it seems that this one might be going ahead. 

Called The Avenging Silence, the screenplay is by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the writing duo best known for their work on the James Bond movies Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre. Thanks to The Playlist‘s digging, we now have a much better idea of what they’re writing – here’s a snippet from The Avenging Silence‘s synopsis:

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…

We’ll end it there because the synopsis journeys deeper into spoiler territory, but that segment provides an idea of what the director’s aiming for. The detail emerged from the Crouching Tigers Project Lab, an initiative which aims to integrate “Asian and non-Asian elements in script and production” with a special emphasis on genre filmmaking. This was launched as part of a film festival in Macau, and The Avenging Silence is one of six genre movies looking for financing.

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The lab’s brochure (here’s a pdf) lists The Avenging Silence as “in development”, with a projected budget of $15 million. It’s early days for Refn’s spy thriller, but with the right actor in the lead role, the movie should – we hope – have enough commercial appeal to get the backing it needs. Mind you, don’t expect Refn’s latest film to be too mainstream – the director has previously said that Wiliam S. Burroughs is as much of an influence on the project as Ian Fleming, so expect things to get a bit surreal as the spy makes his way through the Land of the Rising Sun.

More on The Avenging Silence as we get it.