White Reindeer

What can I say about White Reindeer? It’s a film that mixes coke and snow into a line of gloriously dark and comedic Christmas spirit. The director claims to be a Christmas lover who set out to make a different kind of holiday movie, and I can say wholeheartedly that he has succeeded. Can I guarantee you will love this Jack Daniels mixed extravaganza? Definitely not. It is a love it or leave it kind of film, that I personally, found to be strangely likable.

What I can guarantee, however, is a stellar performance from Anna Margaret Hollyman who is a born leading lady to this twisted cocktail of death and fairy lights. Hollyman plays Suzanne Barrington, a white middle class, blonde lady who has settled into a nice career, with a nice car and a nice engagement to a nice man. However, things go awry when a break-in leads to murder and Suzanne is left alone for Christmas. The wonderful thing about this film is its honest portrayal of death and loss. Family and friends follow the religious rituals of funerals and wakes and condolences but it all just seems a little detached and staged after such horrors have occurred. Suzanne goes through a brutal crisis that anyone who has suffered a loss can relate to, as she numbs herself to the world by lying on the couch, ignoring phone calls and making all the wrong decisions.

The movie takes off when Suzanne discovers that her future husband was not all that he seemed. Suzanne spirals into a world of cocaine, strippers, swingers parties and shop lifting as she desperately tries to grasp hold of her life as well as her favorite holiday. The film’s director, Zach Clark, manages to make a concoction of wild parties, crazy characters and extreme situations while consistently grounding Suzanne in realism. Her character is consistent despite her changing surroundings and her goal to get through her grief is never forgotten.

If you want a break from the Lifetime movies of candy canes and tinsel then White Reindeer is the film for you. Hot coco is exchanged for shots of Jack while lines of coke replace merry snowmen. The most wonderful thing of all is that, despite all the madness, Clark manages to contain a strong force of Christmas spirit within this crazed story line, and a sense of holiday cheer remains among the remnants of broken decorations and white reindeer.

Sinann Fetherston

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