Big Screen :: White Reindeer

December 16th 2013


White Reindeer is the Christmas movie for people who don’t like Christmas very much.

Straight laced Suzanne, played by Anna Margaret Hollyman, is eagerly looking forward to Christmas. She loves the trees, the carols and all of that crap. It’s her favourite time of the year, made better by the fact the her beloved husband has just scored his dream job in Hawaii.

It’s a real bummer then when someone shoots him in the head, and she doesn’t take it very well.

Slowly she finds out more about him than she really wanted to know, and starts to become a little unhinged herself, embarking on a journey that will take her to strip clubs and sex parties. And she wonders why it just doesn’t feel like Christmas this year!

That summary makes the movie sound like a pretty tough slog, but its really not. It actually walks a very fine line in terms of tone.

There are two obvious ways to tell this story. One is to make a straight-up black comedy with Suzanne as a perky cartoon character who just has misery and misfortune heaped on her, the other is to make a straight-up drama that is relentless and grim.

White Reindeer finds a third way. It’s a human story with some very real and touching moments, but you are also allowed to laugh at it as well. There is a high degree of difficulty in trying to find this balanace, and White Reindeer does a pretty great job. It only works though because of a an amazing performance by Hollyman, who somehow manages to sell this very difficult character.

Keep an eye out too for Joe Swanberg, better known as a director but who pops up here as a perverted neighbour and who was last seen getting shot by a crossbow in one of my favourite movies of this year, You’re Next.

This is a very low budget movie that has been winning some awards and getting attention at film festivals all over the world. In a move becoming more and more common, director Zach Clark raised half of the tiny budget on Kickstarter. It’s having a very limited season at Golden Age Cinema in Surry Hills next weekend, so if you feel like a bit of bitterness mixed in with your christmas cheer, White Reindeer is well worth a look.


WHAT: White Reindeer
WHERE: Golden Age Cinema & Bar, 80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills
WHEN: Thursday through Saturday – session times
HOW MUCH: $20 ($15 Concession) + bf from Eventbrite


Read :: More ‘Big Screen’ reviews from Sam Clark

Listen :: Big Screen podcasts



Read more from FBi Radio