“Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” Movie Review & DVD Report

by on October 24, 2011

in Entertainment, movie reviews

This is a movie review and DVD report for Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.  It’s directed and written by Jalmari Helander, and is based on his 2003 short film titled Rare Exports Inc..

It stars Onni Tommila as Pietari Kontio, Jorma Tommila as Rauno Kontio.  It’s a devilishly good tale about Christmas time and Santa Clause!  The film summary says…

“In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.”

It’s important to know that Korvatunturi is where legends say that Father Christmas (or Joulupukki in Finnish) lives.  It’s also important to know that this movie is sub-titled with some English, but not much, in the mix.  It makes you pay attention a wee bit more.

Rare Exports A Christmas Tale opens with a foreman telling his boss that while drilling, they came across sawdust.  The boss says to drill deeper because sawdust is used protect ice storage containers.  He starts handing out new rules to the drill crew, saying no cursing, wash behind the ears… etc..

They find a new core sample and the boss makes an announcement to hurry, they only have 24 days until Christmas, because they’re about to rob a grave!  This is something this man has been looking for, for a very long time.

While the credits scroll by, we watch a small boy, Peitari, suspicious about the blasting and drilling up on the mountain, reading books about the real Santa Claus… a book that suggests that Santa is not all that he’s cracked up to be.  As he put it later in the film, “The Coca Cola Santa is a hoax.”

It’s 1 day until Christmas.  Peitari finds footprints on his roof.  His dad and the reindeer herding crew find 433 dead reindeer  Pietari finds a human footprint under a carcass and says that “He sure was hungry.”

The group heads up to the mining headquarters on the mountain to talk to them but all they find are empty buildings and a very deep hole.

Do they really think they've got Santa in a cage???

And Rare Exports A Christmas Tale goes from there as we follow their short journey of discovery, learning  who is out there, what the drilling operation was really looking for and a few other bits of holiday legend that gets ripped asunder.

Rare Exports A Christmas Tale moves along at a clip that kept me hooked.  I’m American.  That’s important to know because the movies I’m used to, when it’s over, it’s over.  Where Rare Exports A Christmas Tale differs is that when we think it should end, it moves on a few moments longer and takes the tale in a unique direction from where the meat of the movie originally traveled.

Once I saw the two short films that preceded and inspired this movie, it all made perfect sense.  If you buy the DVD/Blu-ray package, it includes the prequels.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such sharp, detailed filmed resolution in a DVD movie as I did in Rare Exports A Christmas Tale. The surrounding territory is some of the most beautiful, majestic wintery backdrops I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Even the prequels, which have their own quirky sense of humor are shot in wonderfully high detailed imagery.

DVD Extras

One of the DVD extras are the two prequels or short films, Rare Exports Inc (2003) & Rare Exports Inc – The Official Safety Instructions (2005).

The first film was originally intended as a gift to a company but when it was hosted on their website, it went viral and found itself cruising the film festival circuit, winning awards.

BTW:  These are in English.

The Making Of the Film is in some English and some Finish, and is sub-titled.  It’s more low-keyed than most extras if the like.

Concept Art…  where they’ll show the art, then the scene that was created and shot from it.

A Photo Gallery

-And the original Finnish movie trailer.

Rare Exports A Christmas Tale  is a great little movie that was entertaining as it messed with the tradition of Christmas and presented an incredibly nasty version of the jolly fat man.  And if you come away a bit confused after the movie ends, the prequels will put it all back together nicely.

It comes to DVD & Blu-ray on October 25th, 2011.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Blu-Ray + DVD) on Amazon

Movie Trailer:


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