White Reindeer (Zach Clark, 2013)

Astutely tapping into the realm of affected existentialism, White Reindeer focuses on real estate agent Suzanne’s (Anna Margaret Hollyman) attempts to cope with the sudden, moreover untimely death of her meteorologist husband during Christmastime. From the subsequent discovery of an extramarital affair to the separation of her parents, Suzanne decides to tap into the unfortunate reality of the former for a solid helping of substance-addled escapism, albeit varying in terms of actual effectiveness.

Thematically speaking, Zach Clark’s latest feature isn’t the meatiest, however it’s hard to deny White Reindeer‘s earnestness in addressing Suzanne’s newly debt-filled, lonely and generally woeful existence. Thrust convincingly into the thick of an agreeably grim scenario, the film doesn’t try to reinvent the character study so much as it tells the involving tale of the individual at its core. Transitioning admirably from one uncouth coping mechanism to the next, the sympathy card reigns supreme as we easily identify with Suzanne’s jarringly unceremonious fall from upper-middle-class grace, not to mention permanently crushed plans for a definite and desirable future.

While it appealingly and appropriately lends itself to subversion at regular intervals, White Reindeer still doesn’t fully manage to establish itself as more than enjoyably observational in scope. Clark scores points for the poise and steadfastness with which he presents his narrative, yet Suzanne’s plight is little more than heart-wrenching in a basally recognizable sense. Barring the noticeable humdrum tendencies, it’s still difficult to not recommend White Reindeer to those actively seeking a departure from typical holiday fare.


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