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Saturday, 1 December 2007

Boxing Day

Chris (Richard Green) is tough. You can see from the tattoos he wears all over his bare chest and muscled arms that he's hard man. And yet, as this film opens, he's cleaning the house and setting the table like an uneasy housewife. He's on parole you see, and he's trying to prepare Christmas lunch for his estranged family – his brother’s ex-wife Donna (Tammy Anderson), and her teenage daughter Brooke (Misty Sparrow) who calls him ‘Dad’. It's a strange damaged little family, and of course the afternoon will not run smoothly.

For one thing, there is the ‘mate’ who turns up on the doorstep trying to involve Chris in a drug deal. And for another, there’s the abundant Christmas alcohol singing a siren song in the fridge. The tension here is almost unbearable as temptation after temptation presents itself to this man who’s trying so desperately for redemption.

Director Kriv Stenders (The Illustrated Family Doctor, Blacktown) has made one of the best Australian films of the year with this ultra-realist low-budget drama. The script, written – or more accurately ‘improvised’ by Stenders and Green, is totally convincing with its authentic Western suburbs rhythms and cadences. The incidental Aboriginality of the central character is perfectly integrated and never forced or contrived. Even the digital camera-work, so rough and unbeautiful, manages to work with the subject matter – though one does hope for a steadier steady-cam and a bit of glare-management in Stenders’ next film. Nevertheless, Boxing Day sets the bar high for Australian filmmakers, showing what can be done with a digital camera a decent script and a handful of talented performers.

Rochelle Siemienowicz


  1. I actually had a run-in with a bloke like that today. Not pretty (it's been a while since I've flinched in the face of a swinging fist) .

    I demand that all films portray gentle, thoughtful intellectuals, agonising about Being.

  2. Have you seen Into the Wild? Could be your kind of film!