Zach Clark’s nimble, absurdist near-comedy “White Reindeer” is not your father’s Christmas story, but maybe your slightly criminal, usually sad uncle’s tale about real estate, weather men, being a contented consumer, murder, strippers, internet sex, cocaine, contemporary kink, sudden death, adultery, and more strippers, all set around the holliest, jolliest time of the year. (And gifts came earlier in the form of Kickstarter finance for the film, the backers of which include a number of indie film luminaries.) Suffice it to say, bittersweet excess ensues and Clark’s use of bumpy pacing and off-balance, sometimes flat acting begins to feel inspired. The ironic use of the usual hideous earwig Christmas tunes includes the original “Strip for Satan” by The Brimstones. With Anna Margaret Hollyman, Nathan Williams, Lydia Johnson, Joe Swanberg and Laura Lemar-Goldsborough as “Fantasia.” 82m. (Ray Pride)
“White Reindeer” opens Friday, December 13 at the Music Box. The trailer below gives a fine taste of the extremes of “White Reindeer.”
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.