Tuesday 12th December
Athlone Film Club presents:
Christmas Film: Bad Santa
Tues 12th December 8 p.m.
Dir: Terry Zwigoff
USA / 2003 / 91 mins
Funny, sweary and exceptionally acted by Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa is the rudest Christmas movie you will ever see. It’s a one-joke flick, really, but a rib-cracking one at that. Criminal cad Willie Soke (Thornton) hires himself out as Santa in order to crack shopping centre safes. He undertakes this annual exercise with Marcus (Tony Cox), an angry dwarf dressed as an Elf. But this year it’s complicated when a chubby child (Brett Kelly) wants to be his friend. Will Willie discover a Christmas spirit other than vodka?
There is little, if anything, endearing about Soke. He wets himself, swears at children and indulges in noisy, unseemly sex in the ladies’ changing room. Marcus isn’t any better: a bitter thug whose insults are colourful, inventive and utterly unprintable here. Bad Santa isn’t for the easily offended.
The film resists soppiness, while the underplayed theme of redemption (“I beat the **** out of some kids today, but it was for a purpose.”) and Thorton’s priceless presence make it an amusing antitode to seasonal sentiment. – Nev Pierce, BBC Film