Christmas Crossfire

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Christmas Crossfire Movie Poster Image
Violence, sex, language in dark German thriller.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 106 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages in dark comedy crime thriller. 

Positive Role Models

Most of the characters are bumbling amateur criminals, and the two lead characters must avoid getting captured by them after one foils an attempted murder. Police officer attempts to rape the female lead character. 

Violence

Characters shot and killed. Character stabbed through the midsection with a sword while seated in a chair. Character commits suicide by pointing a rifle at his head and pulling the trigger. Police officer attempts to rape a woman after verbally and then physically assaulting her sexually; she takes his gun and kills him. Character stabbed, injured; blood. Character stabbed in the thigh with a fork, and then hit in the head with a schnapps bottle. Man bullies another man by twisting his ear and holding it. Punches thrown. 

Sex

Bare breasts. Lead characters shown on the verge of having sex in a van. References and insinuations of sex when the two lead characters first meet. 

Language

Regular use of profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "piss," "damn," "ass," "bastards." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two lead characters meet by engaging in a vodka shot drinking contest. Cigarette smoking throughout. Marijuana smoking. Wine drinking. Characters drink schnapps shots at dinner. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Christmas Crossfire is a 2020 German dark comedy thriller (with subtitles) in which a staid professor stops a murder, and then becomes a target himself. There's quite a bit of violence, including a police officer attempting to sexually assault and then rape the female lead character before she shoots and kills him with his gun. Character stabbed through the chest with a sword. Character commits suicide by pointing a rifle at his face and pulling the trigger. Shooting deaths. Character tied up in the woods as a man points a gun at his head and nearly kills him. Stabbings; blood. Stabbing with a fork, followed by a schnapps bottle smashed on a character's head. Some binge drinking. Marijuana smoking. Cigarette smoking. Brief female nudity (breasts), as the two lead characters are implied to be having sex, and then shown to be on the verge of having sex. Profanity throughout, including "f--k" used several times. 

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What's the story?

In CHRISTMAS CROSSFIRE, Sam is an American Literature professor in town for a conference. While drinking in a bar, he meets Edda, who challenges him to a vodka shot drinking contest. They immediately hit it off, and after Edda spends the night with Sam in his minibus, she convinces him to skip the conference and go on a road trip with her to her hometown, where she hasn't been in five years. After stopping off in the middle of the woods, Sam hears shouting and screaming, and goes to check it out, against Edda's wishes. In the woods, Sam sees a man on the verge of getting shot at point-blank range in what looks like a mob-style killing. Sam stops the murder, but immediately becomes a target himself, and disappears into the woods. Edda ventures off in search of Sam, but soon is accosted by one of her hometown's police officers, who becomes sexually aggressive before she kills him with his gun. As Sam does everything he can to elude capture, helped and hindered by the man whose life he has just saved, he soon makes it to Edda's hometown. As Edda returns to see her family, including her father who is the mayor of the village, both Edda and Sam have learned why Hermann, the man who's trying to murder Sam, is on the warpath with henchmen who are also the village firemen, and it involves Hermann's seductive wife, who has been having affairs with other men, including the man he tried to kill in the woods. While Hermann's attempts at crime on all levels have proven to be bumbling and incompetent, Edda and Sam must find a way to stop him before he actually starts killing people, and somehow enjoy what's left of Christmas. 

Is it any good?

Christmas Crossfire is an entertaining dark comedy/thriller. It manages to unravel a vast array of knotty plot twists into something engaging from beginning to end. The movie ends right when all of the sidestories and backstories are beginning to overwhelm, but somehow keeps it together. There honestly isn't all that much that makes it a "Christmas" movie, aside from a Christmas dinner that goes from awkward to violent in a short amount of time. For much of the movie, it's easy to forget that it's set during the holidays as it's focused on so many other stories. 

More than holiday fare, Christmas Crossfire comes across almost as a parody of romantic comedies, road trip movies, and movies with crazed bad guys. The anarchy of all these events happening in such a short amount of time is part of the fun. The awareness of the conventions, forms, and tropes of all the different genres the movie flirts with gives the movie a spark that overcomes any feelings of having seen all of this before, in one form or another. While asking the viewer to suspend more disbelief than they might in other movies, the fast pace works in part because it doesn't give the viewer much time to reflect on any skepticism, even as the movie becomes more ludicrous and gratuitous. That said, this is more like holiday fare for people who want a break from the sappy Hallmark Channel offerings churned out by the dozens every December. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about dark comedies. What's the appeal of the genre? What are some dark comedies you've seen, and how does this one compare?

  • How was violence used for the sake of dark comedy and for the story? Was it too much, or was it necessary for the story? Why?

  • Did any of the mature content seem gratuitous and unnecessary to the story, such as the sex scenes, drug use, and binge drinking? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Themes & Topics

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