As a team of hired hands excavate a Finnish mountain, in search of a mysterious payload, a local boy researches the true, sinister nature of the Santa Claus legend, and fears for what the team may unearth.
For fans of the genuinely bizarre, Rare Exports would seem to be an excellent choice for an evening’s entertainment; after all, it’s an alternative, anti-Christmas Christmas film from Finland.
Unfortunately, if the film has any intentions of being something specific, or of interest, something has surely been lost in the translation. It’s not funny enough to be a black comedy, it’s not scary enough to be a horror and it’s too dreary to be in any way enjoyable as a family film, even for the ‘thinking man’s family’.
Sure, it’s original, the acting is fine, the visuals are comparable to a good budgeted American film and the CG is far superior than you would expect from a Finnish movie, but the sparse story unravels at a snails pace, its eighty or so minute running time seeming more like two hours. Also, unforgivably, we’re robbed of a teased at ‘money shot’, leading to an inevitable anticlimax. Seemingly a fumbled outcome to what, on paper, has all the ingredients to be very good.
Subsequently I have found out that Rare Exports acts as a prequel to a number of short films from the same team, which did straighten a few things out in my mind. Viewed on its own merits Rare Exports is like being told an overly long joke that has no punch line.
So yes, it is a genuine oddity, just not a very interesting one.
D- grade – for storytelling
B- grade – for cast
C grade – for visuals
B grade – for originality
Overall grade C-