Friday, 24 December 2010

Rare Exports - bad Santa and his naked little helpers

I went to see Rare Exports this week with my lovely friends from the Haus of Roeni, so I thought it only fitting that I post something about it the night before christmas.

It's safe to say that not many people will get to see this film. It's in Finnish with subtitles, which will put a lot of people off, and it's also on a limited release in the UK. But the intrepid few who hunt it out at their local artsy fartsy cinema will be glad they did. And they probably won't feel the same warm glow about Santa any more.

I'm not going to post a full review, as I think this review at i09 pretty much says it all. But I will say that this film is a treat. A kind of freakish treat, but a treat nevertheless. And just when you think you know what the movie is about (bad santa on loose, find bad santa, blow up bad santa) it completely changes in the last few minutes into something far more fantastical than any story about a man who circumnagivates the globe in a flying sleigh to deliver presents to children. This unexpected twist made me love this film more than had it ended with the bad santa blown to chunks.

It's by no means perfect. Once Pietari tells his dad and Piiparinen that the naked and feral old man they found in the wolf pit is Santa, the mystery and suspense is forgotten in favour of some loud and pacey action. I would have liked some more suspense and less shouting. The switch to action also comes a bit undone with some badly executed CG moments that needed way more money to come up to scratch, which is a shame when the surroundings of the frozen north are so beautiful.

But it delivers interesting characters, plenty of tense moments, a bit of mystery, some classic stoytelling, and enough naked santas running through the Finnish mountains to give you nightmares.

You'll probably never want to eat gingerbread again.

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