Everyone has their favourite Christmas film. For some it just isn’t Christmas until they’ve seen jubilant George Bailey run through the snowy streets of Bedford Falls in It’s A Wonderful Life; heard Kermit sing “Only one more sleep ‘til Christmas” in the Muppets Christmas Carol; or seen plucky Kevin McCallister thwart the bungling burglars in Home Alone. I’m sure you have your favourite. Our family go a little left of centre and enjoy Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping; which while not overtly a festive film, does take place over the Christmas holidays.
But for those whose tastes are not so saccharine, there are many alternative Christmas films to be enjoyed too. Do you remember Die Hard is set on Christmas Eve, as is the classic horror comedy Gremlins?
Writer/Director Shane Black is the king of the alternative Christmas film. The creator of hits such as Lethal Weapon and Iron Man 3, he is renowned for setting his films during the festive season. His action thrillers are full of crackling dialogue, mismatched heroes and plots that take unexpected twists and turns. Black has said that he returns to Christmas as the backdrop to his films because it’s the time of year when people stop and take stock of their lives, and his protagonists are usually at a pivotal moment in their lives – a crisis point. The celebrations of Christmas also provide a dynamic counterpoint to the life or death struggles his characters often find themselves in.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) is classic Shane Black. Starring Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer, it tells the story of petty thief Harry, who finds himself the unlikely partner of a private detective in Los Angeles. There’s murder, mystery, car chases, a chance encounter with an old flame and a large helping of black humour – all at Christmas time, naturally.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is Oswestry Film Society’s alternative Christmas film, showing on Tuesday 19th December at 7.30pm accompanied with mulled wine and alternative festive nibbles, and as a thank you to the people of Oswestry for all their support this year, tickets are just £4 each! We hope to see you there.
By Tom Brookes.
From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 5th December 2017.