Christmas Ransom – Movie Review

TL;DR – A thoroughly charming film when it is working and a bit overwrought when it is not.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are mid-credit scenes

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan service that viewed this film.

emerging from a ball pit

Christmas Ransom Review

It is the time of year when Christmas films are a plenty. Indeed 5 Christmas films got added to a streaming service just today. But if I am to dive into what can be a mess of sentimentality, I want to spend some time with a local production. Well, it is good timing because the Stan Christmas film just dropped, and it is time to find some joy in the world.
 
So to set the scene, at Harrington & Sons toy store run by Clarence Harrington (Cleave Williams) and famous all through the country and the place to visit for toys. But as time marches on, Clarence’s son Derrick (Matt Okine) now runs the store. Christmas does not hold the joy it once was after doing it alone for so long, and even Gladys (Miranda Tapsell), the store’s security guard, can see something missing from Derrick’s life. Even more so given the store is about to close because of a lack of finance. But once the store is closed for the evening, we discover that not everyone has left. Two members of the naughty list, Wombat (Evan Stanhope) and Brady (Tahlia Sturzaker), are here. But before Gladys can finish integrating the little brats, two actual crooks, Nan (Geneviève Lemon) and Shez (Bridie McKim), come into the store with guns. Soon all the staff are tied up with tinsel, a ransom call has been made, and the question is, who can save them?

Hostages tied up with tinsel
When it hasn’t been your day, you week, your month, or even your year. Image Credit: Stan.

When you go into this film, you need to understand that it is pitched at a younger audience, so the villains are cartoonishly evil, the police are incompetent, and you can have a running-fart joke that goes from funny to overused back to funny again. Because it is situated more in that family space, it allows you to go to certain lengths with your story, knowing that nothing terrible will happen. This can be a strength and a weakness, and you do see both sides of that equation here.

The strength of Christmas Ransom is the film’s heart. You can see a sense of joy and wonder from the start, all through the film, and even until the very end of the credits. A lot of the story is about finding who your family is and working to mend the family you already have. If you have read my reviews, you know this is a weakness for me because it always touches my heart, and there is no exception here. I did love that Miranda Tapsell was clearly having a lot of fun as the strict security guard who is a secret softy. Matt Okine works well as the estranged family man that might be in over his head in more ways than one. I loved the odd romance between Pete (Ed Oxenbould) and one of his captors Shez and where it ended up. Even some of the more comic relief moments, like whenever Greg (Chai Hansen) is on screen, were a delight.

Miranda Tapsell protects kids from a robber
I am always a sucker for films about people finding their fmailes. Image Credit: Stan.

However, some aspects of the story didn’t land with me. The relationship between Derrick and his sister Terri (Vivienne Awosoga) and its back story all felt a little rushed. It needed some more fleshing out for that one story beat specifically to his as hard as the film needed it to. As well as this, once the film escalated to someone actually getting shot, the more bumbling aspects of the cops and villains felt forced to the point that it started to pull me out of the film, which does impact the push toward the big act three conclusion.  

In the end, do we recommend Christmas Ransom? Well, it is pitched at a younger audience, and on that front, it might be a fun family film to watch. While there are some frustrating aspects of the film, they never completely get in the way of the narrative, even when you will probably see many of the big plot points coming a mile away. If you liked Christmas Ranson, we would also recommend to you A Sunburnt Christmas.       

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Christmas Ransom?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day. 


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Christmas Ransom
Directed by
– Adele Vuko
Written by – Elliot Vella, Gretel Vella & Timothy Walker
Music by – Chiara Costanza & Jamie Messenger
Cinematography by – Emma Paine
Edited by – Andrew Macneil
Production/Distribution Companies – Screen NSW, Every Claud Productions & Stan
Starring – Miranda Tapsell, Matt Okine, Geneviève Lemon, Bridie McKim, Ed Oxenbould, Tahlia Sturzaker, Evan Stanhope, Vivienne Awosoga, Chai Hansen, Matty J, Adele Vuko, Rob Flanagan, Mike Duncan, Cleave Williams, Noah Atkinson, Molly Moriaty & Christiaan Van Vuuren
Rating – Australia: PG;

1 thought on “Christmas Ransom – Movie Review

  1. Pingback: The Best Australian Cinema in 2022 | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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