If you ‘re looking for an alternative take on the holiday season then have a gander at White Reindeer. An indie film in tone and content, White Reindeer starts happily enough as a young couple get ready to celebrate Christmas. The husband, a weatherman at an East Coast television station tells his wife he just got a new job in Hawaii. For a brief time it is Mele Kalikimaka in the Barrington household.
Tragedy strikes when a home invasion leaves the husband dead. His wife starts to spin slowly out of control. While that may sound a bit dreary White Reindeer is sustained by the strong lead of Anna Margaret Hollyman as Suzanne. Hollyman dominates most every scene she’s in, which is most of the film, and gives a haunting performance as a woman who works off her state of shock by trying to feel real emotions. Only the emotions won’t come.
Suzanne goes through phases of self-discovery and the audience it there with her. Becoming a vegetarian. Seeking a confrontation that leads to a friendship with her husband’s mistress, a stripper whose real name Fantasia is funnier than her stripper name. Hooking up with new neighbors who are covertly into orgies (that include playing Guitar Hero naked). Doing drugs she hasn’t done since college. Compulsively spending thousands on online purchases. At least the doorbell of their delivery awakens her out of a sudden depression.
White Reindeer isn’t a horror film about albino animals nor is it a thriller where we discover the husband’s murderer. White Reindeer doesn’t want to be those things. Rather this is a film that puts the viewer in the shoes and cashmere sweater of our heroine, a woman that’s been dealt a bad hand in the game of life. White Reindeer unwinds exclusively at the Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park starting December 20.
- Michael Bergeron