This year has already served up some interesting Christmas movies including one that sees perennial bad guy Walton Goggins playing a hitman hunting down Santa (played by Mel Gibson) but if Fatman is not your idea of Christmas cheer then let me offer you a Christmas cat story. Yes, ‘Bob The Cat’ is back and this time he is bringing you all the Christmas cheesiness he can muster.
You may remember Bob, he was the subject of James Bowen’s best-selling book A Streetcat Named Bob which was then turned into a film back in 2016. The film was a real surprise – everybody expected something light and fluffy and instead they got a hard-hitting alternative movie from director Roger Spottiswoode that explored deep subjects such as drug addiction and homelessness.
Now Bob returns with a new director in tow. Charles Martin Smith (Dolphin Tale) steers the film through the story of a Christmas with Bob as the success of James Bowen’s (Luke Treadaway – Attack The Block) novel is beginning to sweep around the world. After attending a publisher’s party where he feels very uncomfortable he leaves only to find a young homeless busker being bullied by a council official named Leon (Tim Plester – Game Of Thrones).
While sitting down and providing a meal for the young busker James recounts a Christmas story of when he and the famous Bob found themselves under threat from Leon and the kinder Ruth (Pepter Lunkuse – Father Brown) who threatened to separate the pair because they had to investigate whether or not Bob was being looked after correctly by James.
The plot for A Christmas Gift From Bob is pretty thin but it works. Given that the main aim of the film was to make people feel good at Christmas there was no way the film was ever go to explore the deep subjects of the first film – but having said that it does show the audience how even in these days and times homeless people are often unfairly targeted by those in power when all they are really trying to do is survive.
That subject matter though does mean the film is possibly not suitable for younger children. But this is the perfect film for adults and those with teenagers who are kind of okay with films that are a little light and fluffy at times. Yes, the film does have some Christmas clichés but not to the point where you are going to groan, in fact with the crazy year that we have just endured those clichés probably bring us some normality in the insanity.
Of course the highlight of this film is Bob The Cat, who sadly has now passed away, who steals the limelight in every scene he is in, but he is well supported by Treadaway who works remarkably well with the fluffy script and brings some oomph to his role. While at times he is not given much to work with in the way of dialogue he counteracts that with some brilliant facial expressions that certainly gives the audience a strong feeling of how James is feeling at that very time.
A Christmas Gift From Bob is a film for anyone that loves animal or Christmas films. Hey, if you love both you are going to be in your absolute element, so enjoy!
A Christmas Gift From Bob is currently screening in Phuket and is classified ’G’.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus