Fat man offers a decidedly dark and twisted view of the holiday season. The Christmas cheer is replaced by a bad kid, a ruthless assassin, and a beleaguered Santa Claus with a budget deficit. The film is marketed as a desolate action comedy, but it is a surprisingly thoughtful satire. Fat man reflects the worst instincts of modern times. It shows how selfishness and immorality can lead to violent results. Some viewers will be appalled, but the story told definitely has its worth.
Mel Gibson Stars like Chris Cringle, a hardworking Santa Claus who struggles to keep his business going. He has a wonderful wife (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and a legion of dedicated elves, but a crippling budget deficit puts the entire operation at risk. Its annual government grant is based on the number of gifts. The naughty list has grown exponentially. More children don’t deserve gifts. Lumps of coal seriously affected the bottom line.
Billy Wenan (Chance Hurstfield) is a pint-sized bully who always gets his way. Billy is raised by a sick grandmother and runs her wealthy household with an iron glove. Second place in school science fair that doesn’t take place, Billy never loses. His anger reached a critical mass when he was given a lump of coal over Christmas. Billy hires a merciless killer (Walton Goggins) to hunt him down Fat man Low.
Filmmakers Eshom and Ian Nelms (Small town crime) put grit from the real world into a fabled character. Your version of Santa could be any business owner trying to get away with it. Unfortunately, his product is based on the goodness of mankind. Increasing losses lead to a lack of trust. In a fascinating subplot, Chris outsources the elves for a secret military project. These scenes are fun, but just as unsettling. A decent man has to risk his values for a paycheck. To see government bureaucrats take over Christmas is a sobering lesson.
Walton Goggins is a soulless, cold-blooded antagonist. The ruthless murderer has a bone to pluck with him too Fat man. He’s funny as hell and shakes out Billy’s competitors at the science fair. But the giggles turn to chills with his amazing body size. Goggins brings a realistic threat to the plot. He is an unbridled psychopath with zero redeeming properties; the bottom line of child abuse and neglect. His showdown with that Fat man is absolutely brutal.
Mel Gibson and Marianne Jean-Baptiste have a lovely relationship. The grizzled Chris Cringle has a capable and supportive partner. Her scenes of actual warmth and kindness soften the ugliness of the plot. They are believable and have chemistry as a couple. Fat man could have been a more traditional film. I could honestly have watched them deal with the Christmas nightmare.
Be clear Fat man is in no way a children’s film. The film isn’t slippery Bad Santa Claus, but easily earned its R rating on violence, language, and adult themes. Fat man requires abstract thinking and the appreciation of subversive action. It takes a long time, but it cleverly mocks the lack of true Christmas cheer. Fat man is a production by Fortitude International, Ingenious and Mammoth Entertainment. It will open in selected theaters on November 13th. Followed by a digital and on-demand release on November 24th. Fat man is distributed by Saban Films.
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