Poundland Santa

“Recession for me means leaving a kid a one-eyed, one-armed Barbie doll on Christmas morning “ Santa Claus

Santa (Max Von Sydow) is at his lowest ebb, with a massive overdraft, all power supplies cut off, and an on strike work force led by a fiery elf union leader (Tim Robbins).
Mrs Claus, Santa’s much younger wife (Penelope Cruz-Almodovar’s muse) is his only support in a snow bound North Pole.

Almodovar opens the movie in black and white with a bleak panoramic view of the North Pole .It is December 20th 2010 the fairy lights of Santa’s work shop are dimmed, the elves workshop silent .The camera focuses on a shattered Santa seated at his desk holding a bank statement showing an overdraft of £500 million.

In a series of flashbacks (the director’s familiar route) we discover how Santa has reached meltdown. We are taken back to late November when the bank stops further funding and the elves walk out on strike leaving thousands of unfinished toys in the workshop. His wife tells him he needs to “update and globalise” his twenty first century image and urges him to raise funds by making high profile personal appearances.

We witness a truly cringe worthy appearance on Children in Need as he mimes his updated version of “Do they know its Christmas” as a scowling Geldolf looks on.
The cracks begin to show on the Oprah show. Winfrey writes a personal cheque on air for £ 100 million as her studio audience gasp. Claus grabs the cheque storming off the set mumbling, “Its a drop in the ocean.” With the big day fast approaching can Claus handle the pressure?

Our final flashback is on Dec 19, 2010 and a Newsnight special with Jeremy Paxman.The host is totally unsympathetic and accuses Claus of money laundering to offshore accounts. “You knew we were in recession. You are to blame for your own inability to deliver toys on Christmas Eve” he bellows.

Claus snaps back “Recession for me means leaving a kid a one-eyed, one-armed Barbie doll on Christmas morning. “

We return to the present day and Claus peers over the mountain of children’s letters and realises he cannot possibly make the Christmas Eve deliveries.

The door opens and this is the turning point of the movie when Cruz acts her thermal socks off to deliver a Capraesque speech.”You’ve been through two World Wars, The Wall Street Crash and the Cabbage Patch Doll shortage and you still came back for more. We can beat this together. Oprah’s 100 million will buy 100 million toys in Poundland. One million new toys in one million homes on Christmas morning, it will be fine, you can do it.”

Santa’s face beams and he leaps from his chair.” You’re right .The kids can share one toy per home but at least they’ll all know Santa’s been there.“

Shuffling is heard outside the door.

“And we’ll make sure you’re there! ” shouts Robbin as the elves crowd round.

“We’ve never let the kids down and we’ll never let you down. We are coming back to work today”.

Santa rushes out of the workshop and turns on the power switch transforming the screen from black and white to vibrant technicolour. The North Pole is suddenly drenched in the colour of the fairy lights and a brilliant orange sunrise.

The credits roll with a loud thumping feel good soundtrack of Slade’s” Merry Christmas Everybody”

By S.C. Rouge

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