- Director:Kriv Stenders
- Cast:Tammy Anderson, Syd Brisbane, Richard Green, Misty Sparrow
- Film Worth:$14.00
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With his debut film - the grotesque, nightmarish The Illustrated Family Doctor - Australian director Kriv Stenders...
With his debut film - the grotesque, nightmarish The Illustrated Family Doctor - Australian director Kriv Stenders announced himself as the local answer to David Lynch, a stunning visualist more interested in mood, image and aesthetic texture than traditional narrative. But with his two follow up films - the gritty, frighteningly intimate Blacktown and now the even better Boxing Day - Stenders has flipped that initial impression on its head, and reinvented himself as some kind of unholy Antipodean meld of Lars Von Trier, John Cassavetes, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. And quite frankly, we're all the better for it.
Boxing Day opens on the battered, idiosyncratic features of co-scenarist Richard Green, who stars as Chris, an ex-con and recovering alcoholic who we first see cleaning up his house in preparation for Christmas lunch with his niece Brooke (Misty Sparrow), her mother Donna (Tammy Anderson) and her boyfriend Dave (Syd Brisbane). But an unexpected and unwelcome visit from Chris's former criminal associate and drug dealer Owen (Stuart Clark) quickly throws the lunch into turmoil when he recognises Dave from a previous stint in prison.
To call Boxing Day raw would be an understatement. This is a film so emotionally intense and uncompromising that it practically explodes in your face. As Stenders' roving, restless camera follows these supremely damaged characters around in shockingly immediate "real time", their true selves are slowly revealed, layer by layer. And though what's revealed is often ugly and desperate, it's never less than crushingly human. From the extraordinarily honest performances that he gets out of his largely unknown cast, through to the stinging and mostly improvised dialogue and simple but effective visuals, Boxing Day proves Kriv Stenders to be one of this country's finest filmmakers.