- Katherine McLaughlin
- 2 December 2014
Christopher Smith's festive film shows both a dark side and refreshing compassion
From the director of Severance and Triangle comes a heartwarming and very funny Christmas tale about a father who, after his release from a two-year prison sentence, has to learn the virtue of reliability.
When Santa Claus crashes his sleigh just outside London and gets arrested for trying to spring his reindeer from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, it’s up to Steve (Rafe Spall) and his young son Tom (talented newcomer Kit Connor) to organise a jailbreak and save Christmas. The intrepid adventurers are helped along by a farting reindeer and a magical book, which guides them to a wonderfully realised Lapland.
Jim Broadbent stars as Father Christmas and his ruddy cheeks and friendly face serve the role extremely well. Whether he’s imparting wise advice to the inmates, or running round the clink in a Canadian tuxedo he hits every note. Spall turns in a great comic performance and gets the more poignant moments spot on. Joanna Scanlan is also marvellous as a Miss Trunchbull-like parole officer. And there’s even a cameo from Perry Benson (Formby from Scum).
As befits his horror-laden CV, writer-director Christopher Smith brings something of the macabre to the Christmas film. It has hints of Roald Dahl’s mischievous honesty and is distinctly British in its telling. Smith is wary of not painting the inmates as wholly good or bad and even includes a scene which shows the prisoners explaining the events that led to their incarceration. It’s this compassionate spin which really tugs at the heartstrings. Get Santa is an imaginative and madcap festive family film that has lots for both adults and kids to enjoy – think Porridge meets Elf.
General release from Fri 5 Dec.