Get Santa (2014) Directed by Christopher Smith. With Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kit Connor, Ewan Bremner, Joanna Scanlan, Matt King and Warwick Davis.
From Christopher Smith, the writer-director of Creep, Severance and Black Death, comes a feelgood festive adventure for all the family. Jim Broadbent is Father Christmas, stranded in London after his sleigh crashes and his reindeer are rounded up and taken to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. After a botched attempt to release them, he’s incarcerated and written off as a loon, but not before a chance encounter with Tom, a young boy who believes him and vows to free him in time to save Christmas, with his reluctant ex-jailbird Dad in tow (Rafe Spall).
The first thing I have to say about Get Santa, is that it deserves a better title. It feels like for every Miracle on 34th Street, there are a thousand TV-movie-of-the-week repetitions of the same old seasonal storylines. Often is the case, a Christmas movie gets a pass simply for being a Christmas movie. I’ve found them on too many occasions to be lazy, thrown-together, schmaltz-laden guff, that appear endlessly on TV channels that begin broadcasting 24-hour-a-day as early as October. None of the above can be used to describe Get Santa.
It’s frustrating how easy it would be to dismiss, or just plain miss this diamond in the rough. Christopher Smith balances a multitude of tonal shifts that roam between that of a caper, a heist, the warmth of a children’s fantasy, and a lovingly-made adult fairytale – all of which contribute in the least heavy-handed way to a narrative about the healing of broken bonds between father and son. Somehow, it’s schmaltzy without being schmaltzy.
Smith is blessed with an excellent cast who fully commit to the fun; Rafe Spall’s dry, mocking delivery, Warwick Davis’s amusingly aghast expressions and Joanna Scanlan’s toad-loving meanie all provide enjoyable support around Jim Broadbent’s bumbling turn as St Nick. His performance is delivered in such a way, that we, along with the characters in the film, are gradually convinced of him being Father Christmas.
I’ve broken one of my own rules by watching a Christmas movie in November, but in this instance, I’m going to give myself a pass. Get Santa gathers up all the things people enjoy about a festive film and delivers them back as shiny and new. I hate to say it this early, but Merry Christmas everyone. 4/5