Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Mel Gibson’s Santa dispenses justice in Fatman (review)

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 02, 2021 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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Mel Gibson playing Santa fending off an assassin sent by a spoiled brat who got coal for Christmas is a premise as absurd as it is entertaining. Fatman, the latest in a series of thematically similar roles for Gibson, delivers on both the entertainment and the absurdity while also taking itself more seriously than we might expect.

We live in what has been described as a “therapeutic culture” in which all evil is psychologized away in terms of childhood trauma. In Gibson’s countercultural Chris Cringle we have a father figure who understands and compassionates the childhood wounds of his adversaries, yet insists that wicked deeds require retribution both for justice’s and for the evildoer’s own sake.

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