9. Lethal Weapon (1987)
The forced happiness of Christmas is especially hard when you’re feeling down. This can certainly be said for Lethal Weapon’s Martin Riggs, portrayed excellently by Mel Gibson, who spends every morning contemplating suicide for the untimely death of his wife.
The only thing keeping him going is his job as an undercover cop, one which soon lands him in partnership with sensible family-man Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover). They start off hating one another, the orthodox Murtaugh fuming at Riggs’ crazy yet effective ways, but can’t help bonding over the biggest job of their life, infiltrating an evil drug-gang of Vietnam veterans who kidnap Murtaugh’s daughter.
With plenty of gunfights, witty dialogue, and heart-warming moments, Lethal Weapon reminds us of society’s darker underbelly at a time when we’d all prefer to forget about it.
10. American Psycho (2000)
Speaking of darker underbellies… one can’t descend much further than this Bret Easton Ellis adaptation directed by Mary Harron.
Christian Bale is the eponymous psycho, slaughtering his way through the upper echelons of New York’s yuppiedom – as well as unfortunate streetwalkers and any homeless folk who get in his way. His colleagues are not rich because they have their lives together – American Psycho seems to suggest something blacker in the hearts of these money-making lunatics, and Bale’s Patrick Bateman is no exception. His fiancée, whom he despises as much as everyone else, ambushes him with a pet pig dressed up as Santa Clause, whilst an off-screen party guest pops some furry antlers onto Bateman without his permission. This lavish superficiality is all the more haunting when juxtaposed with the vein of brutal sex-killings that run through American Psycho.
Behind his professional, chummy facade, Bateman is a jealous, bitter man. Behind that, a deranged, calculating killer. And behind that, a crying little boy, scared for his life. He is a reflection of the worst parts of our society, and of ourselves. He is a product of the same system that manufactures our presents, runs our economy, and produces us all.
Perhaps we’re not all to blame for the Patrick Batemans of the world, but… if making us grateful that we are not in his bad books isn’t Christmassy, then what is?
Recommended for you: Die Hard vs Lethal Weapon – The Battle for Christmas
The likes of American Psycho, In Bruges and Brazil paint Christmas in a particularly effective light, but are they amongst your favourite non-Christmas films set at Christmas? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on more articles like this one.
Written by Louis B Scheuer
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