White Reindeer (2013)

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Released 17-Dec-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-Accent trailers x 30
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 79:02
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Zach Clark
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Anna Margaret Hollyman
Laura Lemar-Goldsborough
Leo Erickson
Yvonne Erickson
Fernanda Tapia
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Fritz Myers


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Real Estate Agent Suzanne (Anna Margaret Hollyman) is a happily married woman in Virginia. She has a great sex life with her husband and a positive outlook on life. She is very much looking forward to Christmas and is even happier when her weatherman husband announces that he has landed a dream job at a TV station in Hawaii. But her secure world is shattered when she returns home one evening in early December to find that her husband has been murdered in a home invasion. Work colleagues and her parents try to console her, but Suzanne struggles with her grief, finding the Christmas season of good cheer, commercialism and carols difficult to handle. Her emotional state is not improved when Suzanne discovers that her husband had been accessing a porn website and that earlier that year he had had an affair with a stripper.

     To try to cope with her loss Suzanne tries a bit of shopping therapy but then decides to track down the stripper. This proves fairly easy, and she meets Fantasia (Laura Lemar-Goldsborough), a young, slim Negro woman with a small daughter and a sick mother. Bonded initially by their memories of the same man, the two become friends and Fantasia and her stripper friends awaken Suzanne to the alternate joys of drinking, cocaine and shoplifting! Suzanne is also invited to a kinky sex party by her new neighbours; but will these things help her to cope or to understand what is important in her life?

     White Reindeer, from writer / director / editor Zach Clark, is a bitter-sweet comedy about loss, values, family and Christmas. The film is deadpan and funny and makes some wry comments about commercialism and the forced “cheer” of Christmas, especially when, like Suzanne, there is little to celebrate. This is a low budget film, being financed through Kickstarter, but the use of good sets and locations helps it to feel like a more expensive film. The script is also clever, barbed and spot on, with only the last 10 minutes feeling somewhat of a misstep.

     The pleasure of White Reindeer is also helped by a number of small but telling performances, including Leo Erickson and Yvonne Erickson as Suzanne’s parents, and a good performance by first time actress Laura Lemar-Goldsborough. But the film belongs totally to an excellent Anna Margaret Hollyman as a woman in emotional disarray who thought she was secure and happy but now, in a season of good cheer, she is alone, everything she though she understood under question.

     White Reindeer is for those who like a holiday film with a different slant, and who find the good cheer of the Christmas period a bit much. It should be noted, however, that this holiday film is not children’s fare, being rightly rated MA for some surprisingly strong sex scenes and drug use.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     White Reindeer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a natural looking print. Detail is good and, despite the winter setting, colours are bright and natural. Blacks and shadow detail are very good, skin tones natural. In a couple of scenes contrast varied but marks and artefacts were absent.

     There are no subtitles, although in one place yellow subs came on for a very indistinct sentence by Fernanda Tapia, who played one of Fantasia’s stripper friends.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     Dialogue was mostly clear, although some sentences by the strippers were hard to hear. This is also a front oriented audio track with only some wind and waves, plus music and a bit of party sound, in the surrounds. The subwoofer was mostly silent except from some music, although in the scene with the waves it becomes very noticeable and too loud.

     The original score is credited to Fritz Myers. It is sad and melancholy and thus contrasted perfectly with the cheerful Christmas carols that elsewhere littered the soundtrack.

     I did not notice any lip synchronisation issues.

    The audio is fine for this type of film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

     On start-up there were trailers for War Story, I’ll Follow You Down, WolfCop, The Snitch Cartel and Almost Human that collectively run 10:31. A total of 30 trailers for Accent Film Entertainment releases can be selected from the menu - most of the start-up trailers are repeated and there is a trailer for White Reindeer included. There is a “play all” option.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 2 UK release of White Reindeer looks the same as ours. At present, White Reindeer in the US is available only by video on demand.

Summary

     White Reindeer is a funny and bitter-sweet comedy about loss, values, family and Christmas with a clever script and an excellent central performance from Anna Margaret Hollyman. As a comedy, and as an alternative take on Christmas, it is well worth a look.

     The video and audio are good. Trailers are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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