If Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth teamed up to make Christmas movie that had a script pass by Martin Scorcese, it would be this film: Nick Lines’ It’s A Wonderful Knife. Specifically it mixes a lighter version of the torture porn directness of Roth’s Hostel with the whip smart dialogue and twistedly humourous tone of Tatantino’s Pulp Fiction, alongside a Santa Claus (Jack McGee) straight out of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver or Goodfellas.
The film explores Kate Ward’s character Kitty tying up Santa and demanding to know why he never visited her during her awfully neglected and abused childhood. It throws a nice little twist into the mythology of the big red bearded dude (people who regularly reads these reviews may know I am a sucker for new or slightly changed rules being added to existing mythologies) in that he’s unable to to crack baubles placed under his feet, even when Kitty fully sits on his lap, due to his lightness of foot that enables him to sneak around houses.
It’s also great to see something of a mythological version of Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa. As his cover fails as a regular department store St. Nick, he becomes increasingly desperate, trying to appease his captor by conjuring her childhood wish list gifts of toys and dresses, before doing the least Santa-ly thing and using his Christmas magic to summon a new car, money and drugs.
The final twist is very nice, managing to keep the sour, subversive tone of the film, while somehow also being a happy ending, delivering a message of friendship after conflict as is the spirit of the season.
The only real quandary with the ending: would the boy really be so unhappy to find a woman in his room dressed like that?