Throughout the years the average working man and woman have been lived, ruled, struggled by the capitalist dream (like now) but as always we fight back. Leo Tolstoy has provided literature world with many fine examples of the dream however there not the easiest to be adapted for film, however, British director Bernard Rose (Mr Nice) has tried many times with mixed results. For his latest venture he returns to his favourite source Tolstoy with Boxing Day an contemporary adaptation of ‘Master And Man’ with Danny Huston at his side once more.
Boxing Day tells the story of Basil (Huston) a businessman living out the lower tier end of the capitalist American dream, maxed out credit cards living the lifestyle on a risk. When it comes to business deals he thinks nothing of the date, time in order to seal the deal and decides to leave his family at Christmas time on a day he should be relaxing with his loved ones. Basil heads to a wintry Denver to snap up repossessed homes on the cheap from the bank refurbish them on the cheap sell for a quick larger profit. Basil hire’s Nick (Matthew Jacobs) as a chauffeur to drive him around the snow covered mountain areas but as night sets in things take a drastic twist for the worst when the pair find themselves trapped leaving them facing an uncertain fate.
Huston and Jacobs do deliver strong central performances which help carry the film probably also thanks to the pair been friends off screen too. This gives a natural feel to the film so the dialogue comes across organic, not fake making the improvisation better.
Before the pair meets on screen we do meet the pair on their own a chance for us to try to connect with them. Basil is the face of capitalism, he only cares about personal wealth and profit. He’s a greedy individual who is actually riding on the edge of bankruptcy we get a glimpse of how low he would go to get the money he deceives a church to give him a loan, money they would never really see again. As for Nick, he is Basil’s complete opposite though both are fathers Nick is more family orientated but when he visits his estranged wife we get a possible glimpse into his past one that looks was violent maybe of alcohol (maybe both). Times are hard for him living out of a case in a cheap motel waiting for his phone to ring for the next job.
As the film progresses your left with no sympathy both guilty of their fate one self-centred the other hapless. It’s in the car its when the confines start to get close in, Basil attempts to force some line of authority demanding Nick refer to him as sir, graceless Nick attempts to counteract getting nowhere. Eventually, the pair eventually finds some mutual respect but a very thin line tensions rear and the bickering starts which actually makes the pair open their eyes and re-evaluate life. It’s when the pair bicker actually brings some much needed humour to lighting the tone though it’s not mainstream belly laughs more obsidian in nature.
It’s the final part of the film is when things go downhill as it looks like the consistent script seems to have been thrown out the window when order is replaced by chaos. Hysteria prevails as the ending we watch feels like its been stolen from another film when the pair are trapped Basil decides to leave the car and do his best Julie Andrews impression ala Sound Of Music as the film abruptly ends the hills are left certainly alive but as for Basil and Nick you’ll just have to watch the film.
Drama | UK,2011 |15 | 25th March 2013 (UK)| Independent Distribution |Dir.Bernard Rose |Danny Huston, Matthew Jacobs, Lisa Enos, Jo Farkas |Buy:Boxing Day On DVD
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