by Humphrey Gyde.

THE FAT MAN is a neo noir psychological suspense thriller in the classic vein of Night of the Hunter and Hitchcock‘s Shadow of the Doubt.  Both these movies use the powerful myth of evil coming to a small town in the form of a sinister stranger who skillfully manipulates his way into the confidence of the unsuspecting townsfolk.  And the only person who sees through the stranger‘s smooth façade is an innocent child.  Tension and anxiety rises inexorably as the child cannot get the adults to understand the stranger‘s true nature and the terrible threat he poses.

The movie delivers globally recognized genre conventions of the film noir/gangster thriller—including violence, suspense and crime—while enriching them with an intriguing (and little known) historical context along with compelling psychological character studies.  The story intertwines two contrasting plot components: a crime story of relentless revenge served cold, and the coming of age of a young boy who takes his first faltering steps out of the realm of childhood into the morally ambiguous and compromised world of his parents.  This ―odd couple‖ pairing of a complex and charismatic anti-hero driven by revenge and an “innocent” boy who is forced to enter an adult world beyond his prior experience is the heart of the movie‘s appeal. Their battle of wills unfolds with the moral focus of a Greek tragedy, ending with an astonishing act of empathy and compassion by the boy for his nemesis. Recent movies that similarly expand generic conventions with biting irony, psychological complexity, emotional nuance and moral authority are No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood.