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CHRISTMAS - Channel 4, 1995
A nightmare before Christmas
Christmas always means tough choices. What presents to buy, who to spend the day with, whether to watch the James Bond film or not. Sometimes it seems the problems will never end.
For 18-year-old trainee loan shark Manny, Christmas brings one dilemma he cannot ignore. Manny admires his wide-boy boss Martin more than any other man. He is the brother Manny wishes for. But Manny already has a brother � the amiable but troublesome Sean. While delivering a Christmas peace offering to Martin�s gangster rival Pinter, Manny is presented with a horrible choice: he must kill the adored Martin or Pinter will kill Sean. What will Manny do?
Hans' Role Manny
Writers Jez and Tom Butterworth
Director Marc Munden
Producer Roger Brown
"Christmas balances a story of tough underworld shenanigans with finely honed dialogue and witty vignettes."
Saturday, 31 August 1996
More original is Jez and Tom Butterworth's Christmas, the first of three made-for-television dramas by new British filmmakers. These dramas are gathered together under an umbrella called Talentspotting (Sun C4), which plays on the title of the recent Brit-movie smash Trainspotting and gives an indication of what the commissioning editors are looking out for. In fact the milieu of Christmas - petty criminality in London's Kings Cross - is very Irvine Welsh. The Butterworth brothers have a good ear for dialogue, though, and it's inventively filmed by tyro-director Marc Munden.
Monday, 2 September 1996
Christmas (Sun C4), an off-beat hour in the new Talentspotting strand (check out the Welsh allusion), looked more imaginative. Director Marc Munden revelled in upside-down shots, too-tight close-ups and those 1960s scene changes involving horizontal whizzings of colourful blobs. The crackling script, by Jez Butterworth (who wowed some critics with Mojo at the Royal Court last year) and his brother Tom, was full of concealed-menace Tarantino- esque riffs on the merits of goose versus turkey, the height of a man, or whips.
But it too often descended into Mamet circa Oleanna: dialogue full of irritating ellipses and meaningful pauses. And the story? Boy working for King's Cross villain, whom he worships, is told to kill said villain or established, more powerful villain will kill boy's brother. So boy kills villain. The end. Christmas may have been clever, but the traditional thrills of Truth or Dare showed a more mature respect for the audience. Even a silly story's better than none at all.
thanks to Brooke for this!
Christmas was part of the Talentspotting series, in which new and talented writers were commissioned to produce interesting and original dramas. The two other films in the series are Guardians and Holed.
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Contemporary / Original Drama | Drama