White Reindeer (Zach Clark, 2013)


What I like about indie films is that they experiment, they have the freedom to discuss every subject and to have any type of main character. They don’t have to play by the rules, follow some pattern like most Hollywood films do. By the way, I am not anti-Hollywood but they sure release as much crap as possible. They are very talented at this. Given Hollywood’s inability to make an original film all we can do is turn to indie film. Indie cinema is our savior.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, I don’t care as much as everyone about how commercialized it is, maybe just a bit sad that we are losing our traditions to the West, in my case. Whenever December starts I am all Christmas cheer. I think I like this time of the year than Christmas because there is always the anticipation of how this holiday season will turn out and mainly because as closer Christmas day comes as sooner the whole season of cheer will be over and the worst and saddest part of the year will start. Plus exams. I share some of the excitement regarding holiday cheer with the main character in the charming and unusual indie about Christmas called White Reindeer. Suzanne, played by Anna Margaret Hollyman, is a young married woman who loves Christmas. From Thanksgiving to Christmas Day she is all on eggnog and spreading holiday cheer.

Her world changes suddenly when after Thanksgiving, her husband is killed in their home during a break in.
Soon she finds out her husband had a thing for African-American women and had an affair with one named Autumn, who is a stripper. Suzanne takes a break from her work life so she can grieve and figure out what’s next for her. She meets and even befriends Autumn, whose real name was Fantasia. She wasn’t angry, she was more stunned of how little she knew her husband. No offense to the Fantasias of the world but I found it funny how her real name was more appropriate for her job than the one she had. Again, I’m really sorry.
We see how Suzanne responds to the shock in her life, how thinks take a weird turn for her and how close she is to hitting rock bottom.

White Reindeer is a very dark but also extremely funny film. Funny and bleak. It’s the kind of humor you can see only in an indie film. But it’s strangely hilarious. The funniest bit was probably the couple we meet at the beginning. Suzanne who is a real estate agent presents them a house and tells them how safe the neighborhood is. The two of them look innocent, but you know there’s more to them. Later in the film we see them buying a sex swing and hosting an orgy, which Suzanne attends. The orgy was both disgusting and hilarious. Suzanne is presented firstly as this nice little white lady, but later in the film she goes downhill.
The title of the film is also hilarious. Suzanne does a lot of coke, white lines, also known as riding the white horse. So to make the connection with Christmas they came up with White Reindeer, which is just brilliant.

Talking about the lead, this is the first time I’ve seen her anywhere. I think it’s her debut film. She is excellent. Really great in what is a very difficult role. The role of Suzanne is pretty complex, she has so many sides and Hollyman captures them all brilliantly. The rest of the cast is pretty great too, Joe Swanberg being the only one I’ve recognized.
All in all this is a really unique, not perfect, but original film about Christmas. A different approach to what is a really sweet film about starting over while also presenting some hilarious situations. A very, funny, dark, kinky film. A strange but effective combination for a Christmas film.



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