'Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale' - Movie Review

A while back I watched "Big Game" directed by Jalmari Helander and starring the very young Onni Tommila. Reading about the two of them, I discovered this rather less well-known movie they'd done together a few years previously in Finland. I also found that the critics quite liked it, with the Rotten Tomatoes Consensus saying "Rare Exports is an unexpectedly delightful crossbreed of deadpan comedy and Christmas horror." I thought it sounded interesting as Helander clearly has a streak of insanity that got reined in by Hollywood - with the result that we ultimately got the worst of both worlds: hints of insanity without the good that its full power might have shown. So what the hell, let's see what "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" is like.

Tommila is again the hero of the movie, playing Pietari Kontio, the son of a recently widowed reindeer hunter in northern Finland. Nearby, on the other side of the Russian border, a team is excavating the top of a mountain looking for the original Santa Claus. Pietari does a lot of reading about Santa Claus, and finds out that he/it was an exceptionally evil creature fond of stealing children. The excavations are overly successful, and Pietari's father's wolf trap catches ... something. Not a wolf. Three reindeer hunters and Pietari have to take the fight against a Brothers-Grimm-like version of Santa Claus across the border using guns and modern explosives.

Funny, tense, perverse, and bloody, it's a weird and fairly entertaining way to pass an hour and a half - certainly better than "Big Game."