The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 4

James Proclaims (6)

Image result for reindeer games film

So far, the Christmas(ish) movies featured have been very much of the action genre. They’ve also been largely attributable to writer/director Shane Black. He’ll be back a couple more times before this journey is over, but door 4’s Christmas(ish) film is not one of his.

It is violent though.

Really violent.

For it is none other than Reindeer Games, directed by the award-winning John Frankenheimer. Although it’s fair to say he didn’t win any awards for this monstrosity of a movie.

It’s got a pretty stellar cast – Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron in the lead roles, supported by Gary Sinise and Dennis Farina. Oh and Danny Trejo is there too, (which I suppose is the first clue that there is going to be a fair amount of bloodshed…)

So, is it any good?

Well no, it really isn’t.

Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it. But I didn’t really need to pay that much attention to be able to follow the plot (indeed I managed to mark and grade about thirty test papers while watching this). It does try to be clever but most of the twists, if not entirely predictable, are not really all that surprising either. And when they are surprising it’s mainly because they make absolutely no sense whatsoever. If you overthink the plot it will leave you genuinely angry at how illogical it all is. On the other hand, if you’re prepared to switch your brain off at the start, and you’re in the mood for a mindless action flick, then I’ve seen worse.


Score for Christmasishness


For a film of such carnage, it does tick a lot of the requisite Christmas(ish) boxes. I mean the word ‘Reindeer’ is in the title (although apparently the film was renamed ‘Deception’ on its original UK release, which is awful. Fortunately, the version I saw had the proper title, with the reindeer fully restored to its rightful place). There’s lots of snow and the opening scene has multiple Santa Clauses. Admittedly they all seem to have been violently murdered but, as massacres go, it is pretty festive. Christmas songs abound throughout the movie and, after most of the characters have been brutally dispatched, the end is (rather contrary to the rest of the film) somewhat joyful and very Christmassy indeed.

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