Julien Neaves, Editor
Plot: As Chris Cringle (Santa Claus) struggles to keep his gift distribution business running, a rich, amoral boy hires a hitman to kill him after receiving a lump of coal for Christmas.
Review: When I saw the trailer for this film I was intrigued. A dark comedy thriller where a hitman tries to off Old St Nick? The concept was so bonkers I just had to see it. And having seen it, I can report directors Eshon and Ian Helms did a pretty good job with this out there concept.
The main reason this film works at all – trust me, this could have easily turned into a massive pile a reindeer poop – is the performances of the main cast. Mel Gibson may have his offscreen baggage but the man is still a movie star and I enjoyed him as this very grounded, world-weary, pistol-packing, and relatable Santa Claus.
Gibson’s scenes with English actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace, Blindspot), who plays his wife Ruth, are his best in the film, and the two have a truly warm and heartwarming chemistry. They really seemed like an older couple that had been together a while, say, a few centuries, give or take. Jean-Baptiste was a revelation and I adored her in this role.
But the highlight of this movie is easily Walton Goggins (Justified, The Hateful Eight) as the hitman aka The Skinny Man. Just as No Country For Old Men focused on Javier Bardem’s killer character, Fatman places the spotlight on Goggins. And boy does he shine. He is darkly hilarious, creepy, disturbing, quirky and intimidating. This performance is the gift that keeps on giving.
In terms of plot, the film gives you a few bullet points on this Santa’s mythos but wisely doesn’t get bogged down by it. And somehow the comedic shenanigans at Santa’s workshop in one scene and rampant, bloody murder in the next, seem to work and feel like a cohesive whole. It is truly extraordinary.
The film does feel a bit short and there are some moments where it felt like the writers/directors held back from going too dark. But I had fun with this one and I am even considering writing Santa for a sequel. Who say Fatman versus a serial killer Easter Bunny?
Julien’s Score: 7 out of 10
You can check out Sommer’s video review of Fatman here:
For more Mel Gibson and Sommer’s review of Force of Nature you can click here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.