Bernard Rose completes his trilogy of adaptations of Tolstoy novellas (following Ivansxtc and The Kreutzer Sonata) with this thought-provoking contemporary take on Master and Man, where society’s ills manifest themselves in the actions of the central characters.
Basil (Danny Huston), a struggling, indebted businessman, leaves his young family in Los Angeles the day after Christmas to contrive a lucrative series of property deals that could solve all his problems.
Having flown to Denver with a view to buying a series of foreclosures from banks, he hires local chauffeur Nick (Matthew Jacobs) to drive him around the snowy and increasingly mountainous terrain. As night falls the car becomes trapped on an icy road and the two men face an uncertain fate.
The only British film in the Orizzonti section of Venice this year, Boxing Day is another nuanced and intriguing offering from a director who constantly surprises. With outstanding performances from the two leads and an intimate, hand-held camera style, the film’s thematic weight slowly bears down upon you, leaving much to be digested by its end.