Scrooge's Groundhog Moment
Eddie Scrooge (Ross Kemp) is a ruthless money lender/ debt collector who doesn't care if you want to save money to put in a stair lift as he expects to be paid first. And he certainly doesn't care if its Christmas either as he ruthlessly takes a TV from the flat of a singe mum who can't come up with the money. But then he gets paid a visit by his dead friend Jacob Marley (Ray Fearon) who warns him that he ends up having an eternity of misery if he doesn't change. And following Jacob's visit he has an encounter with his father (Warren Mitchell) who takes him through his past and his relationship with Bella (Angeline Ball). When Eddie wakes up he finds it is Christmas Eve again but he still has lessons to learn and spectral visits to deal with.
At last count I had watched over 20 movies which either are inspired by Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" or are an almost straight adaptation and as such I thought I had seen it all. But then I stumbled across this made for TV version from 2000 starring everyone's favourite hard man Ross Kemp and I have to say I was transfixed. Here is a small production which updates the story to a modern day London with Scrooge being a bruiser of a debt collector, people living in tower blocks and the homeless begging on the streets. And it is a nice update on the familiar storyline, keeping it familiar but incorporating changes to make it still engaging.
What it also does is cleverly incorporate a touch of "Groundhog Day" as Eddie wakes up after the first visit from his father to find it is Christmas Eve again. It also brings in plenty of playful comedy from Eddie's humorous nastiness when it comes to debt collecting to Jacob also being the ghost of Christmas present because it is a busy time of the year and they have to double up. They are only minor things but they are what make this version so engaging, so much fun and not just another version of "A Christmas Carol" doing the same old thing.
What also makes "A Christmas Carol" is the casting and Ross Kemp bringing plenty of his Eastenders bad boy to the role is perfect in this version. But then so is Angeline Ball as his one true love, Warren Mitchell as his father and Ray Fearon works so well with Ross with such great timing between them. Plus there is a nice addition of the mystery surrounding Marley's murder.
What this all boils down to is that "A Christmas Carol" is a very good adaptation with not only the entertaining update to a modern setting but also incorporating a touch of "Groundhog Day" to the mix adding plenty of smile moments.