Directed by: #DetlevBuck
“A man foils an attempted murder then flees the crew of would-be killers, along with their intended target, as a woman he's just met tries to find him.”
As we collectively seek some Christmas spirit, the usual step forward is to watch a lighthearted Christmas classic. But for some people, like myself, who enjoy films with a darker theme, these typical films can become boring quite easily. Christmas Crossfire is a German film that is bloody and suspenseful, yet with comedic undertones and a Christmas theme cleverly embedded; perfect for the ones whose attention is better grasped by gunshots and a sense of thrill.
The writing of this film, by Detlev Buck and Martin Behnke, presents an almost impeccable basis for other elements of the production to mould around. The writing is what balances out the tension of the story with those moments when you catch yourself giggling or greatly smiling — the comedic aspects of Christmas Crossfire aren’t dependent on visual actions of the characters and, instead, are completely dependent on dialogue and quick remarks. I suppose that is two different sides of a comedic value which you can see when comparing a range of films, however the use of dialogue to evoke laughter perfectly matches this type of film and the storyline that it reveals. This film does not primarily focus on a ‘Christmas time tale’ yet it still lets that spirit shine through in its own unique way. The writing is definitely the highlight of the film and the quality of its content seems to only be internally enhanced as the watching experience progresses.
The writing of Christmas Crossfire also creates incredible character development as the timeline extends. The characters slowly show their true hearts, thoughts and insecurities which brilliantly builds on the audience’s connection with them. At the start, I didn’t really have any expectations— meaning that I wasn’t expecting to feel strongly for the characters and how they react in the situations they find themselves in — but I can tell you with confidence that the individuals presented onscreen have wonderfully sculpted personalities, created within the short space of just under two hours. I was amazed; because of the categories of the film being more on the ‘thriller’ side, I was unsure if such personalities could be painted amongst the punches and the waving of guns, but they were stunningly brushed onto this cinematic canvas.
Character development is obviously aided by the way that the cast present their characters as well. The entirety of this cast holds a lot of individual talent and they are able to show their onscreen chemistry as if they are simply who the script states. Despite the chaotic storyline, it is actually quite peaceful to watch the different relationships blossom while others deteriorate — the how immerse the relationships in Christmas Crossfire can be perceived.
An actor I would like to praise in particular for his work is Kostja Ullmann, who plays Sam. As tension begins to rise, it became evident to me that his body language immediately, and very naturally, changed. From there, I continued to keep that in mind and I soon realised that his ability to absorb the core personality of his character, and seemingly slip into the headspace created as Sam, adds so much depth to the film and strengthens the ambience of the scenes that he appears in. It was mesmerising to watch how his body language alone could upgrade the impact of a scene.
I thoroughly enjoyed the editing of this film too (by Dirk Grau.) The film opens with a distinctive spark in its editing; shots smoothly pieced together with an eye catching presentation to prepare the viewer for the wild ride they are currently boarding. Its liveliness can be seen from start to finish, playing a huge part in the success of almost all other elements of the film. While the writing can be stated as the perfect foundation, the editing is what keeps the film moving steadily throughout its duration but with a mischievous glisten following alongside that fluid pace.
Christmas Crossfire is a must watch on Netflix for those who want to add a bit of extra flare to the festivities. If you are feeling burnt out from watching films like Elf, and want something with more guts than Gremlins, then this may be the best pick for you.