Quickcard Review Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Directed by: Jalmari Helander Cast: Jorma Tommila, Onni Tommila, Peeter Jakobi Running Time: 1 hr 24 min Rating: R Release Date: December 3, 2010 (limited)
PLOT: In the Korvatunturi Mountains in Finland, an excavation unearths the resting place of the original Santa Claus, so they decide to dig the fat boy up! Except, he's not nearly as friendly as the children's stories would have you believe...
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of wacky foreign films and I don't mean "wacky" as in "goofy, light-hearted fun." I mean bizarre and incredibly original, in a very dark sort of way.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale looks absolutely phenomenal. The direction is outstanding and the cinematography will blow you away as it sweeps you across the deep snow fields of Finnish mountains. Plus, you've never seen an action/horror movie where Santa is the antagonist before, have you? And I'm not talking about movies with homicidal fakers like Silent Night, Deadly Night; I'm talking about the jolly, bearded guy we all grew up with: he's a demon encased in ice with a minion of bestial elves.
The movie starts you out with a sinister countdown to Christmas, like it's counting down to Armaggedon. A wealthy businessman has funded a dig in the Korvatunturi Mountains, specifically looking for Santa Claus and start suspending your disbelief...NOW! So, he's looking for Santa Claus, even though the guy knows Claus is a kid-eating monster; and he figures out the location because this ancient people, desperate to rid themselves of the hell-plague that was Santa Claus, managed to trap the creature hundreds of years ago. Got all that? Is your head spinning? Wait until the scene where triumphant music is being blared at you while a horde of completely naked old men coming storming over the hill in slow-motion. It leaves you with a pretty complicated feeling.
The thing is, I enjoyed Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale until the little boy inexplicably morphed from a normal child into mighty, fearless hunter of Claus and then I was disappointed. Maybe that's because I'm American - personally, I'd prefer to see Santa wreak a bunch of crazy, bloody havoc and then go home victorious to hellish Mrs. Claus. I don't want a weird movie about a kid who needs to kill Santa to save the world. Neither option is particularly "feel good," but I'd find the former a lot more entertaining.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10