Crowd-pleaser but no classic
The 87-year-old is a pitch-perfect Scrooge that measures up to the miserly icon’s finest portrayals as he growls several tasty putdowns.
Fellow veterans Jonathan Pryce ( John Dickens) and Simon Callow (Leech) lend gravitas, if a little too much hamminess in the former’s case, while Morfydd Clark dazzles as Dickens’ pregnant wife Catherine.
Like its leading man, there’s a frenetic pace to Nalluri’s film as Dickens faces a battle to create and finish his next work to get books into the shops ahead of the arrival of Christmas.
But the director’s decision to shoot on a Dublin soundstage comes back to haunt him as it makes his movie feel more like a West End play, when utilising more creative camera work and visual techniques could’ve turned it into a true cinematic event.
There’s a lot going on as well and there are moments that skip by faster than Santa on his sleigh, making it difficult for us to take everything in.
However, Nalluri does sprinkle magic dust on the scenes where Dickens’ real and imagined worlds collide as A Christmas Carol plays out in his mind.
And, like the very best festive flicks, it takes pleasure in crowd pleasing with the true meaning of Christmas and showcasing the goodness in people resounding messages.
No instant classic ala Scrooged, but a long way off turkeys like Jingle All The Way, The Man Who Invented Christmas is a fresh take on a familiar adventure that will warm hearts this winter.