Sand For Snow

Mark Caan is the eternal optimist and nothing revs him up quite like Cliff Richard compilation albums, The Snow Man cartoon repeated for the seven millionth time and all things Christmassy. He does not rest until all those around him are filled with joyful glee as snow glistens on roof tops.

This year though, he may have met his match.
This year, he can turn to no-one for help.
This year, Mark Caan takes Christmas to the Taliban.

Blissfully unaware of Taliban strongholds being opposed to notions and activities of the West, Caan hopes to end the conflict in Afghanistan by treating the Taliban to Christmas dinner. Armed with crackers, sprouts and Monopoly, Caan sets about inviting locals in and around Taliban territory to dinner on the 25th of December.

Caan is Stephen Fry’s best work as an actor and director on the silver screen and though already considered a national treasure this performance will surely propel him to at least a couple of notches higher than Cheryl Cole. The audience is treated to a plethora of funny faces by Fry as Caan attempts to amuse the local children in order to befriend their fathers. All seems to be going swimmingly until tribal elders question the condition of Caan’s ramekins in which he proposes to serve crème brûlée. A heated argument follows and taking it as a personal insult Caan refuses to host the dinner. We see this broken man, his dreams lost to oblivion as he makes sand castle after sand castle in front of his cave. Eventually coaxed out of his slumber by Taliban toddlers whose affection he cannot ignore, though not in a Gary Glitter way, Caan rejuvenated proceeds with the Christmas dinner arrangements.

Sand For Snow is an exceptional film that possesses Christmas spirit at its core, oddly though it does not seek to explain the atrocities that years of civil war and invasion have inflicted on Afghanistan. Caan’s tale is a bitter sweet one and will in all likelihood be misconstrued despite an unadorned message. If these people over there, with the towels on their heads, just tucked in to a bit of Christmas dinner they would feel better and be less inclined to construct devious terrorist acts against the West.

Hope, trust and the idiot’s guide to a shoe bomb are but three of the topics explored by Fry as he takes the audience through a tumultuous journey. The plot spirals ultimately, of course, towards the kidnap and torture of Caan. Caan is tortured to a background of Marilyn Manson Christmas jingles (for legal reasons we must emphasise that “Marilyn Manson: Prince of Darkness, Christmas Wonderland” is sponsored by Pepsi.) and a rescue is led by Jason Stratham as the most experienced U.S General alive. Stratham inexplicably adopts a Dutch accent for the duration of the film.

Baubles, booze and the inevitable Dave Berry Christmas DVD should all be side stepped and a run made for the queue to buy tickets for this epic.

By Rishi Ganguly

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