‘Fatman‘ is a dark Christmas comedy directed by Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms. The movie was primarily shot in Canada and was later released through Saban Films.
Chris Cringle (Mel Gibson) is struggling with his identity as Santa Claus, especially as his factory in Alaska is lacking funds. His wife Ruth (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) tries to encourage him, but after his sleigh is almost shot down, he sinks into a drunken depression. The US government comes to him, offering him money if Chris and his elves make weapons. Needing the finances, Chris reluctantly agrees the day after Christmas. Meanwhile, the spoiled and bratty millionaire kid Billy (Chance Hurstfield) receives a lump of coal. In a rage, he hires the sad hitman Jonathan Miller (Walton Goggins) to kill the “fatman.” Jonathan readily accepts the job, as he holds a personal grudge against Santa Claus. Meanwhile, Air Force Captain Jacobs (Robert Bockstael) arrives at Santa’s Workshop and works with the Elf 7 (Eric Woolfe) to oversee production. Little do they know, Jonathan is leaving bodies in his wake to reach Santa and take him down.
Honestly, the movie felt like an analogy to the year 2020. Santa was making compromises because of finances. The world sees him as a joke. He has a bratty enemy that sends someone with an actual gun to take him out. Sure, the comedy does not always land perfectly, but I did find myself laughing out loud several times, especially in the final showdown.
Mel Gibson is perfect as the gritty and discouraged Saint Nick. Many have tried to do this darker take on Santa Claus, but of the ones I have seen, Gibson delivers on every level, bringing his deep voice to this masterful performance. His chiseled looks and scowl were always on cue, owning the scenes when Santa can “read” with whom he is speaking, knowing whether they are naughty or nice. He is complemented by Marianne Jean-Baptiste who plays Mrs. Cringle in the best way possible and offers up so much needed holiday cheer to the darker tone of the film.
Chance Hurstfield is every spoiled kid you have ever wanted to whack on the head because he was being a brat. He had sinister comedic moments that did shine and brought the movie to fruition. Likewise, Walton Goggins’ journey to the final confrontations with Santa Claus is one of the highlights of the movie. His character is the frustration of folks who felt let down by Christmas and Goggins nailed it. The rest of the cast also brought lots of holiday horror fun.
I predict this will be a cult classic in the future. It has all of the qualities: grisly violence, depressed hero, the strong female lead, bratty child, innocent child, vengeful hired gun, and a strange premise. With those things mixed in, it will be a go-to for Christmas movie collectors and fans of dark action comedies. No doubt about it.
This is a credit to Ian and Eshom Nelms. Their style of storytelling for this film could have landed flat, but they brought it all of the way home. The humor is on point. The plot is interesting. The performances are just right. All in all, it is the ideal Christmas flick for 2020.
Bottom line, Fatman is the Christmas dark comedy that we all need. It has its issues, but from beginning to end you are thoroughly entertained by Mel Gibson’s less-than-jolly Santa Claus.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong violence, Strong foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: You think you’re the first? You think I got this job because I’m fat and jolly?
Check out the trailer below:
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