Thursday, 2 December 2010

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale: Movie Review

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale: Movie Review

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Rating: 6/10

Cast: Tommi Korpela, Per Christian Ellefsen, Ville Virtanen, Jorma Tommila, Onni Tommila

Director: Jalmari Helander
A Finnish fantasy tale, Rare Exports is an odd beast.
It's set in the Finnish Korvatunturi mountains; it's there a series of miners on an archaeological dig believe they've unearthed one of the biggest secrets of the festive season: Santa Claus.
But while the digging goes on, a pack of hunters in a nearby village is beset by strange goings on; their reindeer are slaughtered and children begin to go missing. However, while the hunters are at a loss to what's going on, one child Pietari (Onni Tommila) seems to be fully aware of the danger they face....
Rare Exports is a twisted slice of Christmas fare; from its Gothic opening titles where the horror of a folklore Santa Claus is revealed, it's clear this isn't a tale of "ho, ho, ho" more like "ho, ho, holy heck what was that?"
There's some beautiful scenery though; the white crisp snow and the mountains look absolutely stunning on the screen; and images such as the slaughtered reindeer look at odds with that. However, that's what the director's gone for with this - it subtly pulls the carpet from under you when you least expect it.
There's a slow atmospheric build up to the big reveal about what's hunting the hunters and what the miners have uncovered; but when the jolts come, they're fairly effective and you won't look at Santa again without seeing a ghoulish emaciated figure with a glint of pure evil in its eyes looking back. It's also odd seeing zombie style imagery being associated with the festive season - but it's that kind of film.

Rare Exports is aiming for cult glory and is bound to be embraced by those who love it; it doesn't quite live up to the initial idea despite the dry dark humour on display. It's a slightly odd maqcabre take on the Christmas story - with its dalliances of the potential evil nature of Santas past, it shows a devilish glint in its eye. It's for that very reason some will love it, and others will wonder why they do.

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