Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale – film review 5 stars

I had an epic trip to see this film. First I went to Vue in Leeds but I got the time wrong – thought it was on at 10.00am but it was 10.00pm. So then I checked my phone again and saw it was on at 10.30am in Bradford, so I dashed down to the station and got to the Media Museum bang on time. Then they wouldn’t let me in. It was a ‘mothers and babies’ only showing. I was gutted and also pretty annoyed as it was not clearly advertised as such. Then I eventually found out that it was on at 3.40pm at the Hyde Park Picture House so I made my way back over to Leeds and got there in time!


Now to the film. Well, it was worth the epic trip to see!


Fantastically dark, moody and unsettling, this is a Christmas film like no other you’ll have ever seen. I think we Brits share with our Scandinavian neighbours an inherent distrust of very saccharine, schmaltzy Christmases – so this film is the perfect antidote to all those cheesy Christmas movies that are on at this time of year. The only other film I can think to parallel Rare Exports is Bad Santa.


Definitely not one to let the children watch (I was relieved this had a 15 certificate) – the suspense and tension builds really well and doesn’t really leave for most of the film. The story centres around Pietari, a young boy who, with a friend, goes to spy on the mysterious excavations on the mountain near their home. Pietari discovers an old book all about the very first Santa Claus and discovers that the elf, far from being a jovial, kindly fellow, is an ancient creature, intent on punishing children who have been naughty. Cleverly, the boy is the only character who puts two and two together and works out what is going on. He is the real hero of the tale.


It’s a dark story but there are moments that are very moving – particularly the relationship between Pietari and his father (who is widowed). There is plenty of humour in the film as well, especially when the men (who hunt reindeer for their living) refer to the ‘magic of Christmas’.


See this film if you liked District 9, The Village or Let the right one in. 


Highly recommended: 5 stars


Hyvää Joulua to you! (Merry Christmas!)

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