Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rare Exports (2010)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

We’ve always heard what a nice guy Santa is.  He comes around once a year to give out presents to those that make his list.  An American believes he’s found the burial mound of the creature that was the original Santa.  He’s in Russia, near the Finnish border.  Some reindeer herders on the other side of the border don’t know about this.  All they know is that there’s a hole in the fence and their reindeer are all dead.  This leads them to believe that the American and his team have let some Russian wolves through.  Either way, it means that they’re out a lot of money and they have debts to pay.

One of the herders, Rauno, sets up a wolf trap, which is illegal.  The fact that he catches an old man doesn’t make things easier on him.  When he and another one of the herders go to dispose of the body, they discover that he’s still alive, which eventually presents an even bigger problem:  The old man can smell children.  He reacts whenever Rauno’s son, Pietari, comes near.

Pietari has been reading up on the Santa legends.  He knows what’s really going on up there and why the old guy is reacting to him.  Pietari and his friend made the hole in the fence to go up and see what the American was doing.  He believes that this is Santa Claus coming to punish him for being naughty.  Unfortunately, none of them yet realize the true scope of the situation.

This isn’t a movie for children.  There aren’t many scenes that parents would find objectionable, but what there is might be very objectionable.  We get to see full male nudity, both front and back.  Granted, it’s some old men in a shower, but I don’t know if I’d be comfortable watching that with my parents.  Also, we get to see a herd of dead reindeer.  There is also a monster that we don’t get to see, but we know it’s big and probably very scary.

It is definitely a new play on the Santa story, at least that I’ve seen in movies.  We have this image of who Santa Claus is and it turns out that this is not at all the case.  There is apparently some truth to the story, insofar as it’s true to legends.  There was a culture that worshiped something similar to what’s presented in the movie.  (Look up Krampus.)  Here, it’s shown that they buried whatever it was.

There were a few unanswered questions.  For starters, why was the American even looking for Santa?  He seemed to have some idea of what the creature was capable of.  He hands out new safety rules to his crew, such as no swearing.  I guess he may have been a little mentally off balance, but it was never stated what he hoped to accomplish.  Maybe he thought the creature wasn’t that bad.  (There are other questions, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.)

One of the things I like about having Netflix streaming is that I can find all sorts of new and interesting movies.  Yes, some of them turn out to be crap, but some of them are like this one.  If you don’t come in expecting anything really deep or mind bending, it can be a fun movie.  It doesn’t even go into the legend or history that much except to show Pietari doing some research.  It’s three adults and a kid fighting Santa and his minions.

One problem is that Netflix didn’t have captioning.  There were subtitles for the Finnish dialogue, but there was some English dialogue that I couldn’t get subtitling for.  Other than that, I’d definitely recommend watching it.  You don’t even have to wait for Christmas to give it a shot.

Official site

IMDb page

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