One last Christmas review from me before the big day, and it has to be the British made festive comedy Get Santa currently in cinemas as we speak, so may be a great time killer over the holiday season for all the parents out there.
Santa Clause has crash landed while test driving his new sleigh just two nights before Christmas, and finds himself and his reindeer scattered across the city of London. When he attempts to rescue his reindeer from the compound of Battersea Dogs Home he is arrested and thrown into Lambeth Prison. He calls upon the help of nine-year-old Tom and his ex-con father, Steve, currently on parole from a two-year stint as a getaway driver to break him out and help save Christmas.
Written and directed by Christopher Smith, best known for independent British Horror films such as Creep and Severance, Get Santa is a great British effort at the Christmas Film. The film stars an array of British faces in the roles including Rafe Spall, Warwick Davis, Stephen Graham and none other than the fantastic Jim Broadbent as old Saint Nick himself, and works tremendously well as both a Christmas film and a prison break film, oh and a comedy too. There are nods to films and TV throughout, such as Ronnie Barker’s Porridge, The Shawshank Redemption and many Christmas films lend moments along the way.
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Jim Broadbent is one of those actors who in my mind can hardly do wrong, especially in comedic roles, and here as Father Christmas, he excels and possibly becomes one of the greatest on screen renditions of Santa to so far grace our screens. Rafe Spall gives a heartfelt turn as the ex con father aiding his son in this impossible mission in an attempt to make up for his absence.
The father and son team are tailed by the police, headed by Trainspotting’s Ewan Bremner and Steve’s stern parole officer played by Joanna Scanlon, and Santa’s little helper in the prison is the convict known as Sally Gunnell (rhyming slang for tunnel) none other than Warwick Davis, all of whom bring some fantastic comedic performances to the fold.
As is important with any Christmas family movie, the film is full to the brim with sentiment and merriment, but there’s enough here to entertain the adults as well as the kids, including the scene in which prison barber (Stephen Graham) helps to reinvent Santa into the prison safe “Mad Jimmy Claws”.
Get Santa is shot and edited tremendously well, with modest yet believable visual effects here and there, although with perhaps a little too much lens flare, as seems to be the in thing these days (thanks JJ Abrams), but all in all creates a great adventurous feel good journey which will have and your children on the edge of your seat, in fits of hysterics and holding back the odd tear too. If you like Christmas films, well, I think that Get Santa is going to become one of those classics that will make essential viewing for many years to come.