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R-Xmas (2001)

Cast: Drea de Matteo, Drea de Matteo, Lillo Brancato, more...
Director: Abel Ferrara, Abel Ferrara
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Studio: Live/Artisan
Running Time: 83 min.
Subtitles: Spanish
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Cult favorite Abel Ferrara directed and co-wrote this story set in New York City in 1993, before Mayor Rudy Giuliani's much-publicized crusade against street crime put a dent in semi-public drug dealing in the city. It's a few days before Christmas, and a Latin American couple living on the city's Upper East Side (Lillo Brancato Jr. and Drea de Matteo) are watching their daughter (Lisa Valens) perform in her school's holiday pageant. Afterward, the couple drop the child off with a babysitter and set out to run some errands. They have two items on their agenda: get their daughter the doll she's been asking for (a nearly impossible task, since the toy has become the must-have item of the season), then head to their work space uptown, where they prepare and package heroin for street distribution. While the wife has her qualms about the ethics of drug dealing, both she and her husband know there's plenty of money to be made in heroin -- more than most Hispanic immigrants could make working legitimate jobs in New York -- and the business has been highly lucrative for them. The couple discovers one of their lower-level dealers may be talking to the police, but they soon have a bigger problem to deal with when the husband is lured to the Bronx by a fence who can get him the toy he's been looking for. The husband finds he's been lured into a trap, and a kidnapper (Ice-T) gives the wife less than a half hour to collect and pay a huge ransom, or her husband will be killed. As in Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, the audience never learns the names of most of the major characters in 'R Xmas; also like Bad Lieutenant (as well as King of New York and The New Rose Hotel), Ferrara invited pioneering gangster rapper Schooly-D to contribute to the film's score. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

What to say, what to say... by Emomovieluver January 17, 2003 - 9:38 AM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I'm sure what to say about this movie as it left me numb and not sure what to make of it. I had heard much about director Ferrara and only seen two of his movies, the gritty and impressive "King of New York" and the mainstream sci-fier retread "Bodysnatchers". "Xmas" is most unique technically; a bland look at a family of drug dealers and a situation they are forced into. The film has utterly no score other than blaring urban rap music. Leads Ice-T, de Matteo and Brancato are good but none are stretching much here. It's not a great film (as I thought the director was capable of) but it's certainly not a bad one either though it takes a particular taste for.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.00)
10 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2001
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.

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