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I just recently caught a screening of Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
and I was definitely not disappointed. My expectations were relatively
high after having seen the two short films previously released in this
series, and while this version did stray somewhat from the concepts
shown in the short films, it did stay true to the overall feel of the
Although this film was not particularly deep or thought provoking it was very fun to watch and highly enjoyable. Somewhat creepy in places, this was mainly played up for humorous effect and overall the film displayed a dark sense of humor quite different from any Christmas movie that I have ever seen.
I would highly recommend this film to fans of the original short films or anyone looking for something a little bit different around the holiday season!
I saw this the other day at the London Film Festival and went in with no expectations, not having seen the short films it was based on. It was a fantastic surprise and i would put it right up there, if not in number one position, as the best film festival films i have ever seen. The pace and storyline were top notch and although some of the characters were a bit weak in substance and originality it took nothing away from my enjoyment of the film. This is one i would highly recommend to any film fan except those under 13. Indeed it is one i would be proud to recommend as it has a dark and dry sense of humour and an original twist on the Christmas tale. I will buy the DVD and happily see it again; I rarely say those words these days.
Just seen this at a Preview Screening in London.
This was an excellent little Christmas horror film but good enough for older kids above 13 to watch. Its not gory as this is one of those less is more type of films but it is quite creepy. Bizarelly, there is quite a bit of male nudity but its in such a way that you should think nothing of it. It wasn't a big deal to the on screen characters and I suspect somehow that the film makers are not expecting it to be a big deal with us either. But there were a few people in my audience who chuckled loudly and as for me, I did so, quietly, and fleetingly wanting to just watch the film unravel its mysteries.
The child antagonist was absolutely superb playing the typical "why won't the grown ups listen to me" role. How he eventually grabs their attention will have you cheering like hell. The story is well paced and creepy. With a couple of good twists and a sprinkle of humour thrown in the mix.
The soundtrack was pretty bombastic (reminiscent of Michael Giacchino "Roar" track from Cloverfield) which was great but perhaps a little too over used when a bit more subtlety was needed in certain moments of the film.
This film reminds me of my favourite old dark fable movies with child protagonists such as Night of the Hunter, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Lost Boys. In fact I would sum this up as a Stephen King type horror story for the family.
The very ending of the film felt rather overly silly though, which is my only criticism but its not enough to knock any marks off my rating.
This might well turn into a Christmas sleeper hit, if not, perhaps later on, will be a little cult classic
I've just seen this film with my Finnish girlfriend who was delighted with the pin-sharp Finnish black Humour running through it. The acting was good but the young boy deserves great credit making his role believable. It is nice to see an alternate Xmas film doing what is a very limited run in Britain. There is much joy to behold in this film from the beautiful locations, the music score which enhanced the film and made it feel a much bigger picture and not forgetting an edit that did not add any silly modernistic cuts/editing style. I thought the ending just about summed up the film, dark black humour Finnish style, I hope this becomes a wee cult classic in the future. Go see it!
Very creepy in parts, but with a very enjoyable streak of black comedy,
this movie is a must see. The fact it's primarily in Finnish with
minimal English did not detract from my enjoyment of the film at all
(subtitles are really easy to follow, folks!).
The acting by the lead young boy in the movie is excellent and not at all cheesy and whilst this is not a character driven movie as such, I believe there's enough exposition to carry the plot through without people wondering "How the hell did that happen? Where did that come from? How does he know how to control that vehicle?"
If you're sick of plots involving candy canes, people stealing presents and grinchesque characters tamely threatening the holiday season, then this is the movie for you!
Full review here: http://thewildbore.blogspot.com/2010/12/rare-exports-
Finland isn't known for it's film exports, so here truly is a 'Rare Export' but should we return it? It's not exactly in the spirit of Christmas is it?
This film is rather a prequel to two short films that the director made in 2003 and 2005 (both I will stick at the end of this article) where Santa isn't the merry old fat man we've come to know and love but is rather a beast of the wild that is tamed and exported around the world. But deciding that some short films weren't enough, Jalmari Helander decides to make a feature film about his 'hunters' before the events of Rare Exports Inc. & Rare Exports: Official Safety Instructions. I have to put this film into context because when viewing the film, not knowing much about it, it seemed very strange afterwards but now it kind of makes sense. However, it might be worth watching without seeing the videos included here, but it's your choice.
Either way, the story is about how some corporate diggers are excavating something from a mountain near a remote village in the snowy outdoors. But it is a young boy who works out what is buried beneath and is taking every precaution just in case, whether it's taping cardboard to your bum or carrying around a shotgun, he's not taking any chances. I read somewhere that this harks back to the kiddie films of the Eighties like The Goonies where the kids were always right and the adults were idiots, but this has much more of a horror element to it. In fact, it is very funny in different places for different reasons but always keeps a dark, sinister edge whether it's the weird wooden dolls, the crazy rich excavator or the creepy Santa they find, there's always a tinge of horror at all times.
The film is very well directed and, like many have said (mainly because of the snow) reminds people of The Thing, but all the set-up's are there and around the whole thing is the myth of Santa Claus (or Claws in this case). It makes for a very exciting, disturbing experience that is set around a time where people are supposed to get together and for someone who doesn't really enjoy Christmas, like myself, it makes a welcome distraction to all the 'niceness' of the Christmas season. The acting is, for the most part, very impressive and the end sequences with hundreds of naked old men running across the mountains is both funny and breathtaking at the same time. The film finds a great balance between horror, terror, humour and remembering that it shouldn't take itself too seriously, the gag is that it's about Santa after all.
I always found something creepy about a fat, old man going into children's houses at night and giving them presents, seeing if they've been 'naughty or nice' and this plays on people's insecurities especially at a time where paedophilia is all over the news these days. It also has a rather serious, dramatic edge with an obviously painful father/son relationship, a man who is frustrated with the world and a 'coming-of-age' element about sacrifice and becoming independent. It could also be seen as a war of male generations, the son against the father, and the father against his own father, which in this case is represented by Father Christmas, it would make sense seeing as there is no females in the whole film but rather a world of manly hunters where soppy things like Christmas have no place.
Overall, the film is enjoyable and the last five minutes is rather strange but makes sense once you see the short films. It might have a few plot holes but has been well thought out, perfectly directed and for something that could have so easily been one big joke, remains an impressive piece of work that the director clearly cared about. I recommend that you forget the usual Christmas ho-ho-Hell's and delve into a dark place where being naughty or nice is a life or death decision.
More on http://thewildbore.blogspot.com/2010/12/rare-exports-christmas- tale.html
For me this is one of those films that I just instantly took to heart, it has the sort of implicit comedy that you expect from the Cohen brothers, and a theme which really plays with your ideas of horror. It does help if you have a bit of background in Finnish mythology, there's no explanation, even in the subtitles, of the yule goat, and the word Joulupukki's close links to old stories about a sort of mischievous Christmas devil. It does introduce some of the old stories, but doesn't explain how they are actually commonly known history pertaining to Father Christmas in Finland, and weren't made up for the film or anything like that. Other than that, the film is visually beautiful, musically dramatic to at least the extent that Danny Elfman had ever achieved for Tim Burton, and has a sort of dignity that something with an undercurrent of comedy rarely has, relying on its ability to be funny without trying, something that Quinten Tarantino and the Cohen Brothers often leave us slack jawed over. I definitely recommend it.
I haven't yet seen the short movies, but what i've heard is that this
is a prequel to those short movies, so it won't matter.
The movie is very enjoyable to watch and easy to recommend to families to watch (families who have kids at least 13 years old). It's little bit scary for kids and has pretty dark humor, but it's still good hearted film. Especially the ending. The acting is great, especially Pietari's (Onni Tommila) performance is great. Even though it's a cliché that the adults won't believe the child, it doesn't matter, because the film makes you aware that the adults will eventually know what they're dealing with. The music is also great. Only criticism i have for this movie, is that it didn't do or show things you really wanted or expected and that the CGI-effects aren't so great in some parts of the movie and they should have been shorter so they wouldn't give you that awkward feeling that not-so-good CGI-effects give you.
This is a great movie. It would have been impossible for Hollywood to
have made this movie. They would have needed a huge special effects
budget, and the continuity people would never have allowed it through.
They would have played it as a goofy comedy. Thankfully it was made in
Finland. If the Americans decide to do a remake, make sure you see the
As it is, it is thoroughly clever, and wonderfully naively charming. The director had an idea, and chose an optimum path to realise that idea - a very tricky feat.
I'm from Australia, but I couldn't help wondering if Finnish people and New Zealanders are similar.
BTW, count the women who appear in the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had seen some of the short films that lead to the making of this
feature, so I already had a pretty good idea of how it would unfold.
However, this fact didn't spoil the film for me and only added to the
Set in Finland on Christmas Eve, a father(Rauno) and son (Pietari) prepare for a reindeer hunt, that will sustain the small family financially for the new year. A parallel event, above the herding area for the hunt, is proceeding. A group of miners are preparing to unearth a mysterious creature under direction of an equally mysterious patron.
Things go downhill from there. And what make the subsequent events interesting and entertaining is the skill the director has in pacing the film and the actors in creating believable characters. Particularly charming is Onni Tommila the actor playing Pietari. I wish I could think of a better term then "warms my heart," but that's exactly how I feel when I see little Pietari running around dragging his little stuffed animal behind him. The point being that when you like a character, like Pietari, the tension is raised because you care what happens to them. The actor playing the father, Jorma Tommila (real life father to Onni), is also quite good at soliciting sympathy from the audience. It's clear from his expressions that, when the reindeer hunt goes awry, the family is in dire straits.
My main criticism might be that once the action starts, things fall so quickly into place, that it feels a little contrived. And, this is no small thing considering, we're talking about a movie that has a ghoulish Santa Claus that hunts children. But, that very same premise, in its novelty, saves the film from getting too bogged down. It's simply interesting to watch. You have Santa and his elves presented in a very, VERY different light.
I can't tell if I would have been satisfied with the ending since I already had a good idea of what was going to happen from the short films, but nevertheless, from start to finish, I found Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale quite entertaining and even a little scary in some places. And, I will forever be charmed by the films hero, Pietra.
Who knows, maybe this film will replace It's a Wonderful Life as the new Christmas standard. Probably not, but it's certainly a welcome addition to the genre and will be one I'll look forward watching again this time, next year.
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