RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (2010) – The Dungeon Review!
Halloween just ended and here I am reviewing a Christmas film! I actually watched Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale over a month ago and re-watched it again last night before finishing this review. Rare Exports is a wonderfully twisted take on the Santa Clause myth. To paraphrase one of the film’s characters; the Coca-Cola Santa is a lie. Good old Coca-Cola, now they can add to their list of crimes disillusionment of Finnish children. I am one of those bah humbug people that loathes and detests the whorey spectacle that is the yuletide season. Of course when I was a kid I was all about the ho ho but these days I generally avoid Christmas flicks. I must say I am awful glad I did not avoid this festive treat! For your review I have included two of Jalmari Helander’s clever short films that inspired the feature length Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. If you enjoy these shorts you must seek out Rare Exports immediately! Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is highly entertaining not to mention one of the best damn holiday films I have ever seen!
While Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale was inspired by these two short films, it actually serves as a prequel. An excavation in a tiny Finnish town is unearthing a natural resource with one nasty disposition. The only one in the town who knows the nature of the menace is a little boy named Pietari.
The acting is top notch and the characters take their business quite seriously. I never for a second questioned their devotion to dealing with the task at hand. The entire cast is great but it is little Onni Tommila who plays Pietari that really steals the show. He is cute as a button and lends a wide-eyed enthusiasm to the tale. The journey we take with Pietari as he uncovers frightening facts about the “real” Santa adds an important child-like perspective. I don’t want to divulge too much and spoil all the fun but there are definitely moments throughout that will surprise. There is a bit of violence scattered about, a few curse words and even a bit of full-frontal male nudity! Although there is darkness to its story there is also an undeniable joyfulness about Rare Exports that is quite magnetic. My only complaint is that Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale would have benefitted by an extended runtime. A lot of wacky things happen during the finale and I thought it felt just a bit rushed. It is such a minor complaint for a film that is well shot, well-paced and a shitload of fun!
I must admit that it was Rare Exports “anti-Christmas” vibe that drew me in. Having seen Rare Exports twice in the last month along with both shorts I would not call the film “anti-Christmas”. While it certainly adds a unique and twisted take on the Santa Clause myth there is a spirit of love and togetherness that feels more genuine than most holiday movies. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is an absolute delight! This December do yourself a favor and bust out the eggnog and gingerbread and sit your ass down and watch Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. Highly recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Jalmari Helander
Starring: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Tommi Korpela, Rauno Juvonen, Per Christian Ellefsen, Ilmari Järvenpää
FINNISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES