Boxing Day (2007)
By: Devon B. on October 13, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Siren Visual (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 81 minutes
The Movie
Director: Kriv Stenders
Starring: Richard Green, Tammy Anderson, Syd Brisbane, Stuart Clark
Screenplay: Kriv Stenders, Richard Green
Country: Australia
External Links
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Don't read this review.

With some movies it's better not to know what you're in for, and Boxing Day is definitely one of those. The only thing you need to know is that it's a movie you should check out. The movie draws you in because you need to figure out what's going on and how characters relate to each other, so even minor details about the story or characters are potential spoilers. Just rest assured it all will be revealed and become engrossed. Avoid reading the synopsis on the back of the DVD or anywhere else: Just watch it.

I can't really cut the review off there, but even so, the only plot I'm going to outlay is a man is anxiously awaiting arrivals on Boxing Day (hence the title) but an unwanted visitor brings unexpected news during the festivities.

It may not sound like much, and I ain't gonna lie and say the plot was particularly complex, but this movie is exceptionally well done. This isn't just a case of style triumphing over substance; the film is raw and unflinching and tackles tough subjects, but I could sum up the entire storyline in one sentence. In fact, I did just that in the last paragraph. Which actually was only one sentence, which seems bad form, really…

Boxing Day was shot to play like one single take. There are a few jump cuts where you can clearly see where a take begins or ends. You're not supposed to get caught up in the "Wow, I can't believe they've been going for 80 minutes" idea, you're supposed to get caught up in the story. The story is full on, mired in reality, and the documentary style cinematography only enhances this aspect. The film is cleverly constructed, well shot, and minimalist in nature, particularly in revealing plot points. The story has been intentionally made less clear than it could've been, forcing you to become involved as you try to sort out the nuances of what's happening. The dysfunction of the characters is painfully clear, particularly driven home in one challenging scene about a character wanting to maintain the status quo. Characters do stupid things (particularly a useless parole officer) but it's all realistic. Performances are all believable, with improvised, though tightly honed, dialogue further enhancing the film's gritty realism and showcasing how on the edge most of the characters are as they spiral towards the volatile climax.

If you're on the lookout for unusual holiday fare, Boxing Day is a fantastic option.
Boxing Day was shot on high definition video and is presented in a 16:9 enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio. There's a bit of grain and haze which stood out in some early scenes with murkier lighting, but I never noticed it again after the first few minutes. The print is sharp and well presented here.
The two channel audio track is well mixed. There're a few bits where the dialogue's hard to understand, but I think this may have been intentional to make you pay even more attention.
Extra Features
The DVD comes with a production booklet and a slew of on disc extras.

Disc one has a commentary featuring director Kriv Stenders and producer Kristian Moliere They delve into some of the unusual aspects of this production, and there are quite a few like how it got funded and their ability to actually film Boxing Day twice. The commentary track is solid, and they have a lot to talk about because Boxing Day is such a unique film.

Disc two contains Boxing Day 2.0, which is an earlier "take" of the film, giving the welcome opportunity to see how the film progressed during filming. As the film's dialogue was improvised there are changes between the two versions, but 2.0 is more straightforward, with plot points much clearer. Kriv talks about his attempts to make the plot less obvious in the making of and the commentary, and here's a good way to see what he meant. The theatrical version has been tightened and has greater impact, particularly noticeable in the difference between the climactic scenes. A roughly 45 minute making of allows further glimpses at the film's development, and some clips at the director's short films that springboarded this feature. A casting of featurette isn't just the usual casting stuff; the story was worked around getting the best cast possible. There's also a short featurette explaining the "Rule of Three" which guided how the producer was to spend the film's budget. There're a few clips of star Richard Green doing spoken word and poetry on the set, which is actually an interesting look at his viewpoints and cultural heritage. For a bit of a goof off, and possibly included at the insistence of one thespian to display they're not like their character, the Syd Meets Misty section is two cast members muckin' around. Rounding things off is the trailer.

There're also some Easter eggs. On disc one, go to the Audio Setup menu. From "On" for the director's commentary, press left to highlight "Boxing Day." Press enter to see an outtake of a phone call from the film, with the other side of the conversation included. On disc two, press left from "Richard Green: Poetry & Spoken Word" to highlight "Boxing Day." Press enter to see a tongue in cheek interview with the art department. Or you can press right on "Boxing Day Trailer" to highlight the same egg.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
It's not often that I'll give a film a perfect score, but even taking into account a long intro scene with the lead in his y-fronts, there's nothing that I could think of to change to make Boxing Day a better film. Everything in the film is there for a reason and has been worked on to maximise its effect (including the aforementioned undies scene). The film is very Australian, but like Once Were Warriors, Boxing Day should resonate with people all over the world.

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