When starting to consider the premise of ‘Fatman’, I immediately am called back to my youth watching ‘Scrooged’ with my family. In particular, the opening scene showcasing a mock advertisement for a film called ‘The Night The Reindeer Died’. In it, gun toting Santa and his elves have to ward off intruders with the help of Lee Majors. I feel directors Eshom and Ian Nelms have also seen ‘Scrooged’ and maybe had thought to themselves ‘Damn, let’s give it a shot’. Enter ‘Fatman’ where an evil young boy Billy (played by Chance Hurstfield) sends out a hit on Santa (played by Mel Gibson), who in this portrayal goes by ‘Chris’. This isn’t the fat and jolly man you are accustomed to, unless by fat you mean ‘thicc’, and ‘jolly’ being the temperament of a blue-collar factory manager on the brink of having his shop closed down. Billy enlists the help of his current hitman know as ‘Skinny Man’ (played by Walton Goggins) to take down the guy in the red suit, but Santa may have a few tricks in his bag, in this strange, dumb movie that I found myself drawn to like a moth to a flame.
This movie is a tonal disaster. It at one point wants to be taken seriously, then is self aware, then it thinks it’s funny, then it’s back to being deadly serious. My range of emotions while watching ‘Fatman’ is a cross between my first time watching ‘Cats’ with a mix of my first time watching ‘Mandy’. Let’s talk about the world building here. There are joyless, sweatshop looking Elves in a dimly lit workhouse that is located in Alaska of all places. Sant- I mean ‘Chris’ is portrayed to be a good man struggling to keep this Elf sweatshop running and is forced to make a manufacturing deal with the U.S. government, who is sending him regular checks for being Santa. The boy Billy, though not shown onscreen, has definitely killed a few animals in his life. How he met ‘Skinny Man’ isn’t really explained, just that he has worked with Billy for awhile now. The film has unique and honestly interesting concepts that could be explored, but it’s mired with being unable to choose which direction to take until the 3rd act of the film.
Mel Gibson as ‘Chris’ is the Santa that sleeps outside and has a bunch of shopping carts tied together outside a Walmart. I think he would be the stuff of nightmares for any Kid to watch this film and wait in horror for Mel Gibson to come down their chimney. Walter Goggins is all in for the action and plays his role fairly well also. Mrs. Clause (played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is also very good in her performance and is a more traditional version of Mrs. Clause.
All that being said, the 3rd act is absolutely insane in all of the best ways. At a certain point in the final scenes I said to myself if a prediction I made would actually happen in the film, ‘Fatman’ gets an automatic 10/10, and immediately after that I am watching my prediction unfold before my eyes. I can’t go back on my word, the ending it bafflingly dumb and I loved it. ‘Fatman’ is a confused mess and I must emphasize DO NOT let your kids watch this, but I am a man of my word, and It gets a perfect score (Don’t hold this against me).