Keven's Movie Review: RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE
Published: January 15, 2011 - 3:48pm
It may be a little late, but now is better than never. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is beautiful to look at, disturbing to watch, creepy, has a brilliant premise, but it never fires on all cylinders to make for a truly great viewing experience.
Director Jalmari Helander is getting a ton of praise for his work here and his vision is something else to behold on screen - it reminds me of a Tim Burton-esque kind of a good time. I can't wait for his next flick, which he says will be a mashup of Rambo and Home Alone. What? This guy's awesome is what.
Rare Exports is a twisted take on the mythology of Santa Claus. What happens in Helander's film (which is half subtitled - PS) is a digging expedition on a mountain in Finland ends up unearthing the true hideous creature that spawned the child friendly tale of what we all consider the fat jolly Santa. This couldn't be farther from the truth. After Santa is thawed from his ice tomb in the mountain, reindeer end up getting slaughtered, children go missing and a group of Finnish hunters end up catching the sick winter wizard bastard and ponder what to do with him. Then there's a neat twist a littler later on that leads to some even more delicious looking scenes that I can't give away here, as it would completely ruin the last quarter of the flick.
What Rare Exports does really well, is create amazing atmosphere. The cinematography and shots all look breathtaking. The creepy naked Santa whose eyes begin to slightly sparkle when our hockey helmeted hero child is in the same vicinity is just fantastic. I never knew what the hell was going to happen next and that's what I want in my movie. What I didn't dig however was how Rare Exports never really 'went all the way' with my brain. It teased me with brilliance throughout the whole damn movie, and then all of a sudden it was over and I wanted more.
I would have liked to snoop around in the mythos a little more, dig a bit deeper and see more of the horrific nature behind the evil Santa and how he operates. Rare Exports hardly scratches the surface and it left me craving more even though there WILL not be a sequel in the cards. Not a good one anyway.
But even though I was never 100% blown away by Rare Exports, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it, because my eyeballs were in creepy heaven nonstop. This was a very nicely crafted film with great acting performances all around. Whoever plays creepy naked cannibal Santa is a genius. I nominate him to portray creepy naked cannibal Easter Bunny next - that guy's fantastic. He scared the absolute out of me and that's the effect I needed in order to be involved in the story.
Bonus: Feel free to check out the short film AFTER you see this full length movie. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is based on a mini movie that Helander made and the aspects and end result of both movies is nearly identical - so don't watch the short first - it'll blow the full length feature's twist and ruin the ending.