Of Or Relating to Christmas Cinema: Act One


Did you know that the movie “Die Hard” is not just fun escapism but a commentary on the capitalistic nature of Christmas and its separation, over time, from its religious roots? It’s true. The movie is set at Christmas time. Hans Gruber and co. steal $640 million in bearer bonds during the Nakatomi Corporation’s Christmas party. Gruber is a false prophet, commenting that he intends to teach the corporation a lesson about its greed, which would establish him as a criminal with political or social motivations, but really, as pointed out by Holly Gennaro, estranged wife of NYPD Detective John McClane, Gruber just wants the money for himself, and is thus a “common thief” (“I am an exceptional thief!” Gruber corrects her).

Enter John McClane, who visited Los Angeles to win his wife back, but now finds himself in the middle of this hostage crisis, a thorn in the side of the criminals and of the LAPD, a situation that he could have physically removed himself from, by taking the stairs down instead of up, or at least he could have chilled. But that’s not McClane’s character. He is willing to sacrifice himself for the good of all mankind—the mankind established in this cinematic universe—even if he is ostracized for it, misunderstood, or killed. His sacrifice will save all of us. He is the true prophet. McClane suffers serious injuries to both of his feet after walking through glass, emblematic of half the symptoms of stigmata, the literal and figurative blood on his hands from killing German terrorists the other half.

So, this time around, please remember the true meaning of Christmas: not presents, or Santa, but John McClane.

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