Tuesday, 30 November 2010
FILM REVIEW: RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE
I'll admit I find the idea of a Christmas themed film about as inviting as having surgery to remove reindeer antlers from my butt, sans morphine: I'm very much of the 'bah humbug' school of thought. Despite the second half of its title, Rare Exports is anything but a saccharine-laden yuletide treat.
Finnish director Jalmari Helander made a series of short films (which can be found on YouTube), exploring the not-so-nice origins of Santa Claus. He has expanded on those ideas in Rare Exports, a film with a wicked sense of humour; a kid's film with more than a few grown up scares and refreshingly schmaltz free.
When drilling in a nearby mountain coincides with strange events in the nearby village – the theft of heating appliances, potato sacks but not their contents, and soon enough the local kids – and on Christmas eve no less, Pietari, a mere boy himself, begins to suspect that the real (i.e. evil) Santa Claus has been released from his centuries old icy prison.
I'll say no more of the plot; Rare Exports is best enjoyed as that surprise gift you find under the tree, not quite sure what you'll discover as it unfolds. What I will say – and it's something I rarely, if ever, say – is that the film could have been longer, if only to flesh out some of the elements of the story, Santa's helpers for one. But that's a minor complaint for this Christmas film for people who don't like Christmas films.