After receiving a Christmas bonus, a young business man decides that he is going to get the most recent phone as a gift to himself. His desire for the new piece of technology makes him absent minded of his family and the recent devastation caused from Typhoon Haiyan. However, as he is rushing to the mall to buy his new phone, he meets a cab driver, whose life is in turmoil because of the recent disaster. This chance encounter leads to the ultimate kind gesture, just in time for Christmas.

“Christmas Bonus” greatest strength lies within its message of charity and the importance of supporting your fellow countrymen. Although the plot is predictable in its execution, it still has a lot of heart and packs a nice emotional punch. The protagonist’s materialism, melting away into an act of charity, feels like an important message for people to take with them. The natural disaster does make this point more poignant, but the message can be applied to helping anyone in need. It exists as a universal, positive message that is conveyed with a charming sincerity.

The performances within the production are well done, but given the levity of the script, it is difficult to put too much praise into the rolls. However, both of the characters seem sincere in their emotions, with the cab driver exuding positive demeanor while still portraying this dark cloud hanging over him, in an admirable performance.

On a technical level, “Christmas Bonus” leaves a lot to be desired. Visually it is pretty stunted by poor video quality and some awkward camera work. The audio does not fair much better, with rather muted audio on the voices along with a score that sounds like generic stock music trying to elicit a sombre atmosphere. Given that the film seems more focused on the social message, the technical shortcoming don’t hurt the intended goal, but does limit its appeal beyond the social commentary.

“Christmas Bonus” will leave an impact on most viewers as the message of favoring charity over materialism is well presented and relatable. The film ends on a real high note that did manage to get me feeling a bit emotional. For myself, that is a bit of a rare occurrence, and often can’t be achieved if the rest of the film’s components are lackluster, in this case the visual and audio presentation. Even though the technical presentation does hinder the overall presentation, the script and performances are enough to make the production a memorable and endearing moral statement.

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Hello, my name is Adam Symchuk and I am from Canada. It was during my teenage years that I became fascinated with Japanese film, in particular, exploitation and horror. I carried my fascination with the genre with me as an adult and began to grow a deeper appreciation in various genres from Japan, Korea, Thailand, and China. I hope to grow my knowledge of film across Asia and will continue to explore this through my reviews.