Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joyeux Death (In Pictures): Rare Exports- A Christmas Tale

Christmas Eve comes a year late!  Back in 2010, I featured the film's international trailer and hoped to be able to see it soon.  Well, it's just over a year, yea?  In all seriousness, I do have to wonder why it takes nearly 365 days to put a Subtitle track on a film and encode it onto a disc.  This film is making the rounds on all of the film blogs that I know- and many that I don't, I'm sure- so I don't feel as special covering this movie. With that said, it's still a really neat movie and deserves all the attention that can be given to it.  If you don't know, Rare Exports began as a pair of short films released in Finland & was enough to inspire a feature-length film.  Adapting a short into a full-length film is also what got us 9, so it's not always a safe bet.  The plot involves a kid's discovery that Santa Claus is not only real...but he's out for revenge.  Does it relate to a nearby mining operation at a mountain?  Maybe.  I won't SPOIL the movie too much here, but will give you a taste of what the film has going for it.  To find out more, read on...
The film is all about the boy on the left, as he is the only one who suspects that something bad is going on.  Nobody ever listens to the kid, do they?
What killed all of the Caribou?  It was either the local wolves...or something worse.
What's down the hole in the Mountain?  As long as it's not the Devil from Doctor Who or Brendan Fraser flopping about in 3-D, I'm game!
Your day has taken a turn for the worse when you have a dead body being checked out by your friend dressed as Santa Claus.
Who is this mysterious old man?  Why can he bite through broomsticks?  More importantly...
How does he end up in this cage being traded off like some sort of hostage?  Why is he worth so much to the man who's blasting a hole in the Mountain?
What the hell is that thing?!?!?  I'm certainly not going to say here...
What's in the giant net that is so important to that horde of people in the snow?  Again- I'm not saying.
There's no way that this scene ends well.  Or does it?  You get the drift by now- watch the movie to find out. The End.
Christmas Eve is worth the wait.  The plot of this movie is great, even if it does take a while to really get moving.  It's not quite a 'slow-burn' per se, but it doesn't really get all that unique for at least fifteen minutes.  That's just a matter of a cultural divide, as other countries don't necessarily make films the same way that we do.  I know- next I'm going to tell you that they drive on the other side of the road!  Once you get past that little thing, the movie has a lot going for it.  It's got atmosphere,- especially for someone who lives on the other side of the Equator- humor and is chock full of realistic characters.  Could I relate to a Finnish Caribou Hunter in most circumstances?  No.  Can I relate to these characters?  Yes.  The only real sin that this movie commits is not showing certain scenes and just mentioning that they happened?  Does it annoy me?  Yes.  The movie has enough strong points to outweigh these, however, and- to be honest- I think that bothers me more than most people.  The whole thing feels fresh, while making reference to what has already been made.  As a bonus, the DVD/Blu-Ray comes with the two original short films as well, giving you proper context to the whole thing.  It's rare that I say this with a Christmas film, but I recommend this movie.
Next up, I cover a movie that has sat in its predecessor's shadow for the last 17 years.  Will it step out to be appreciated or be covered in mold?  Stay tuned...

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