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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

The Fat Man has got his eye on you, kid.

Fatman (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Rugged, boreal man Christopher Cringle (Mel Gibson) relieves the angst of the Christmas season by taking pot shots at cans with jolly Saint Nicholas pics on them and by eating his wife Ruth (Marianne Jean-Baptiste)'s decorated sugar cookies. Yum, yum. He complains about the business slump they're in on account of “a rising number of our youth making poor decisions.” Bummer. Uncle Sam has cut his subsidy as a con­se­quence of their low production but has offered a military contract to make up for it, one they're loath to accept.

winnerMeanwhile in Minnesota twelve-year-old Billy “Little Sh!t” Wenan (Chance Hurst­field) has tormented his elementary school science fair rival Christine Crawford (Ellison Butler) for having won first place instead of him. For his trouble he receives a lump of coal from Santa. Billy rages at the heavens, “YOU JUST MESSED UP BIG TIME, FAT MAN!” He embezzles some funds from his senile grand­mother and uses his chauf­feur's connections to hire hit man Jonathan Miller (Walton Goggins) to “kill Santa Claus.” Lots of luck, fellow.

Miller takes the money for this difficult assignment and proceeds to research Santa's where­abouts. He comes up with a Chris Cringle in North Peak, Alaska, travels through Canada to do some “hunting,” and purchases weapons and gear in Alaska. He arrives at an armed military camp as Cringle's contract obliged him to beef up security. Motivated in part by his past Christmas disap­point­ments, the hit man proceeds to neutralize the soldiers only to encounter a grizzled old man who has his own issues with “a silly fat man in a red suit.” What is the world coming to?


Santa“Fatman” so undermines our consensus groupthink about Christmas that it behooves us to take a look at Santa's biblical arche­type so we can see where it's going. We start with Santa provisioning his sleigh with gifts manufactured by elves at the North Pole. Let's compare this construction project with another: Noah's ark. Researcher Mark DeWayne Combs working from Genesis and ancient sources tells us, “we can reasonably propose accurate proportions of the ark to be 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet in height” (27). That would dwarf the people working on it making them seem like elves. Further­more, “Christ him­self referenced the flood (Matthew 24:39) … that those out­side of Noah's immediate family ‘knew not until the flood came and took them all away.’ … This brings a detail that would impact the choice of location — the absolute necessity of isolation” (Combs 52). In our modern Santa telling, the elves' construction takes place at the supremely isolated North Pole.

Santa's sleigh is pulled by eight reindeer harnessed in pairs. Noah's ark was filled with pairs of exotic animals. (Gen. 7:17) “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth.” Santa's sleigh also floats up above the Earth. The ark landed on (Gen. 8:5) “the tops of the mountains”, the roof of the world. The sleigh lands on the rooftops, too.

hearthNext, Santa comes down the chimney to take care of the families on his route. Noah himself collapsed in a drunken heap to deal with the families in turn. (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.” At this point he's to take care of all three children and the grand­kids, thus covering all the children on Earth at the time while not violating any laws of physics. “Fatman” focuses on three children getting gifts from Santa this year: Christine who rightly expects a lot of them, Billy who will be disap­pointed by a lump of coal, and an unnamed boy playing with a new toy, whom the hit man passes on the road.

Here's what happened. (Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” In “Fatman” the big guy rolls out of bed naked and struggles into his trousers when the sh!t hits the fan (“I've come for your head, Fat Man!”)

care bearNoah sorts out his gifts according to his naughty and nice lists. (Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Shem and his brother Japheth were a nice pair as were Ham and his son Canaan a naughty pair. The blessings come down through the generations by means of what we call the Christmas spirit, and so do the warnings at least. In our movie the nice pair involved brother trans­por­tation systems: Christine entered a choo choo train science project and an unnamed boy was playing with a model airplane. Billy with his lump of coal would be paired with his absent father who sent him an unwanted stuffed bear that bore an uncanny resemblance to “Ted” of another horror movie.

Within that framework “Fatman” seems to be focused on Santa's surveillance of naughty ones, in particular of fathers who neglect their children who in their turn end up “reckless youth.” In particular he's known one Sandy (Susanne Sutchy) since she was a girl. She's now a bar­maid who doesn't show the proper respect for marriage vows and ends up taking married men home with her. Fat Man denies her that oppor­tunity by encouraging the way­ward men to go home to their wives and families. Billy's dad is off in the Bahamas with his girl­friend Kara at Christ­mas­time rather than spending it with Billy. As a con­se­quence Billy is woe­fully undisciplined. This movie is a creative inter­pre­tation of Ham neglecting his own family by hanging out at Noah's tent, so both Ham and his sons end up on the naughty list. If it's hereditary, then only a latter soul need be specified in the curse as the identical pronounce­ment is followed down the line from dad. In our movie Santa requires Billy to look out for the welfare of all those who inhabit his sphere of influence and never to make any of them feel inferior. Similarly, in the Noah story, Ham's line ends up in servitude to Shem & Japheth's lines. An actual hereditary example is given in my review of “A Holiday to Remember.”

Production Values

” (2020) was written and directed by Ian Nelms and Eshom Nelms. It stars Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, and Mari­anne Jean-Baptiste. Chance Hurst­field gave an excellent performance as sociopathic Billy. Gibson was a perfect if unconventional Fatman. It was necessary to cast his wife as a different race to reflect the race diversity archetypal Noah needed to repopulate the Earth.

MPAA rated it R for bloody violence, and language. Parents take note. Don't pet the reindeer. It was filmed in part in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Production didn't over­­spend on sets. Seems to me northern Alaska is darker that time of year, so don't use this as a travelogue.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This film is a dark comedy without any comedy. It's a good antidote to the saccharine fare we're used to this time of year. It would appeal to a certain kind of person or to some­body in the mood. I wouldn't take a date to it unless she's Goth.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print. Software.

Combs, Mark DeWayne. End the Beginning. USA: Splinter in the Mind's Eye Pub., 2014. Print.