Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snark Patrol goes to the Movies

I am not a big fan of sappy Christmas movies. I also do not see the point of pretentious foreign films with Symbolism and dream sequences involving naked people dancing around to indicate a connection with nature or whatever. (More likely someone absconded with the costume budget.)

Yet there I was, watching a Finnish movie about Santa Claus.

Rare Exports is a wonderful, darkly funny movie about the *real* Santa Claus. You should be so lucky to only get coal in your stocking if you are naughty--this Santa boils children. And his "little helpers" look like dirty old men. That's a literal description, they are old geezers wearing nothing more than a generous amount of dirt. (So yeah, there were some naked people cavorting around but it was more scary than titillating. Naked old guys in the snow carrying pickaxes will do that.)

The story features a young Finn who sneaks up to the top of a mountain where mysterious mining operations are taking place. Once he realizes the plan is *really* to dig up a Primordial Santa Claus, frozen in ice, he tries to alert his father and anyone who will listen to the danger. He is properly ignored -- and then the yearly reindeer roundup fails when the entire herd is found slaughtered, and it all goes downhill from there.

One thing I found especially interesting is the apparent prevalence of guns in this setting. It's a dangerous place with hungry wolves about, and any children old enough to be outside on their own are simply expected to have a rifle or shotgun to protect themselves. Our young hero carries his shotgun along with his stuffed animal. Pretentious Europeans like to whine about how Americans are gun crazy, but they are completely ignoring the entirety of Finland which is, you know, right there next to them.

Not to worry, there is a happy ending (with explosions) and the newly unemployed elves are retrained and repurposed. And there are ginger cookies for everyone.

Movie locations in the US.

(N.B. No children are boiled or even harmed during the film, unless you count being stuffed in a potato sack.)
(N.B.2 To avoid enraging Primordial Santas, please review the Safety Regulations and observe them at all times.)


Anonymous Cortillaen said...

In the Safety Regulations video, can you identify the weapon hanging on the man's left side at 2:09? I'm guessing it's some variety of automatic shotgun from the drum and the barrel being too small for grenades. It looks kind of like an AA-12, but I've never seen one with a front grip, and the drum looks too long.

5:32 PM, December 16, 2010  
Anonymous John of Argghhh! said...

What about the Striker?

2:09 PM, December 17, 2010  
Blogger prestonious said...

Thank for you for your review. Through an alignment of the stars, I read you review just before the 3 days Rare Exports was showing here in the Cultural Mecca of the Midwest and I had someone who could watch the house so I could attend the theatre. (and it has been many many of a moon since I have seen a flick on the large screen). All in all it was a nice diversion, so I appreciate the lead.

There were 3 things that I noticed that surely must have been irresistible draws for you to see this movie. a) produced by Oscilloscope Labs, b) the detail that Pietari living in a rural home where he uses the bathroom outdoors has a nice supply of very old and historical reference tomes in his bedroom, and c) the shower scene.

You were right. Pietari never left his firearm behind, no matter where he went. Those wolves must be fierce tho we never saw one. Maybe the helpers cleared them away but it wasn't mentioned?

5:05 PM, December 18, 2010  
Anonymous Cortillaen said...

That does appear to be it, John. Many thanks.

5:52 PM, December 18, 2010  

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