There is no shortage of Christmas movies to watch come the holiday season, but we continue to get new releases adding to said long list. Including odd and obscure films such as Fatman.
The Mel Gibson lead film had a limited theatrical release on November 13, 2020 with a wider streaming release on November 24, 2020. Along with Gibson as Chris Kringle, the movie stars Walton Goggins as Jonathan Miller / Skinny Man, Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Ruth Kringle, Chance Hurstfield as Billy Wenan, Robert Bockstael as Captain Jacobs, and Eric Woolfe as Elf 7.
Fatman was written and directed by Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms.
In Fatman Chris Cringle, also known as Santa Claus, is fighting to save his declining business. He is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military. Making matters worse, Chris gets locked into a deadly battle of wits against a highly skilled assassin, hired by a precocious 12-year-old, after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking.
A surprisingly serious take on the story of Santa Claus is a welcome change to the seasonal films. Gibson dealing with declining belief in his work, consumes alcohol via flask and visits to a local tavern, and fires guns on his farm practicing his aim. The stress of delivering gifts every Christmas shows on the face of Gibson and allows you to feel for what he is going through.
Gibson is excellent in his role as he returns to Hollywood after a long absence after several controversies. Although he might not be the perfect person, he showed why he was cast in films such as Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, and more in this off-the-wall Christmas movie. Not all holiday flicks need a happy go lucky story with bright colors and blinking lights. Sometimes we need blood, guts and gunfire.
The critics hammer on Fatman with a 44% Rotten Tomatoes score. Owen Gleiberman of Variety calls it, “You get the distinct feeling that the Nelms brothers think this is all a lot funnier, crazier, and more resonant than it is.” However, the audience found it a bit more entertaining, 84%, and call it “a twisted Christmas movie.”
Gibson performance is wonderful and is definitely the star of this film. His grizzly appearance and gravelly voice is the perfect casting for this version of Father Christmas.
Fatman has made it onto my Top-30 favorite Christmas movies and I will continue to watch it every year and enjoy the odd natured dark comedy with a stellar one-two punch of Gibson and Goggins.