VOD REVIEW: Mel Gibson Christmas flick far from jolly or cliche

Never did I think a dark tilt where Mel Gibson plays an off-kilter Santa Claus would make my must-see list for 2020, or any year for that matter.

But with Fatman, writer-director duo Eshom & Ian Nelms deliver one of the most zany, maniacal, pitch-black Christmas movies ever made. And I loved every second of it.

Set present-day, where a shot-swilling, depressed Chris Cringle sees his gift-giving factory making more coal for naughty kids than presents, it’s fair to say our grizzled protagonist is perturbed by the state of the world.

So when he U.S. government – who pay him for the toy volume good ol’ Santa Claus creates per year – visit with a less-than-desirable sum, they offer him, his wife and the elves a U.S. Defense contract to keep things afloat.

Armed with a new mission and a flagrant sense that Christmas spirit will continue to wane, old, tired Cringle accepts the offer. But when a young, relentlessly horrible 12-year-old receives coal as a gift, he hires a hitman with his own Santa-sized chip on his shoulder to put a few ho-ho-holes in our protagonist, and end Christmas forever.

So yes, you heard me right. Assassins, Mel Gibson as Santa, and relentless violence are what you get here. Scrooged, this is not.

But with a fantastic, interesting turn by Gibson, a supporting performance by Walton Goggins that’s impeccable, and a twisted sense of imagination from our writer-directors, Fatman has landed as a must-watch alternative for all of you who can’t bear The Santa Clause one more time.

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