Written by Ana Jones
Finally, an Australian Christmas movie – why has it taken so long!
Not a drop of snow, mistletoe or reindeer to be seen, yet it is filled with all the cheer and spirit you expect from a festive season flick. And all from the comfort of your couch – it is 2020 after all!
A Sunburnt Christmas follows Daryl (Daniel Henshall), an escaped criminal who ‘stumbles’ across a struggling family who have had the kind of year that you used to only read about in fiction novels – drought, fire, family tragedy, foreclosure and COVID-19!
The Raley’s, wily 15-year-old Hazel (Tatiana Goode), along with and her siblings, the fearless Daisy (Lena Nankivell) and hypochondriac Tom (Eadan McGuinness) are keeping things together as best they can since the death of their father.
When a strange man dressed as Santa (Henshall) crashes a car full of Christmas toys into their shed, it turns Christmas and their entire lives upside down in ways that could never have been imagined....
Daisy and her siblings are soon drawn into an escapade of misadventures as the misguided but good-hearted Daryl becomes an unlikely symbol of hope (he is Santa after-all). Add to the mix a grieving and eccentric mother (Ling Cooper Tang, recently from The Secrets She Keeps), bickering cops and Dingo (Sullivan Stapleton) – the menacing mobster who is tracking Daryl to retrieve some missing money, and it’s clear they are all in grave danger.
The cast includes the well-known talent of Henshall (Acute Misfortune, Not Suitable for Children) and Stapleton (Blindspot, The Secret Life of Us, Animal Kingdom), as well as newcomers Nankivell, McGuinness and Goode, who are all amazing in their film debuts – expect to see their faces often in the years to come.
For those watching with smaller Children. The film does contain religious references, mild language use, some contentious issues (mostly around Santa being blown up, his powers and his existence, as well as the subtext of suicide) and guns (notably a child’s use of a shotgun as a comforter). But don’t let this deter you, this film is boldly fresh with the topics and references seamlessly and often humourlessly integrated.
Shot in 5K, the Director did an outstanding job filming around COVID requirements (including a cameo role as a council worker). As did the writers adapting scenes as laws changed regularly. Without giving too much away, the Home Alone homage was awesome!
If you loved watching Elf, Home Alone or Die Hard, you will love A Sunburnt Christmas.
Directed by Christiaan Van Vuuren (Bondi Hipsters, The Other Guy), it is produced by Every Cloud Productions, in association with Highview Productions and was created and written by Elliot Vella, Gretel Vella and Timothy Walker. #ASunburntChristmas also has major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Stan and with assistance from the South Australian Film Corporation.
A must watch, it is yet to be rated on IMDb but we give it 9/10! It is exclusive to https://www.stan.com.au from 11 December, 6 pm AEST.
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