QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

It's not the season to watch a Christmas movie, but this caught my eye in the Netflix streaming selection today so I gave it a try. I had heard good reviews of this.

A few things I think would be helpful to know up front:

  • The "Rare Exports" part of the title is not some marketing gimmick, it's really part of the title.
  • The movie is not rated, but would probably be PG-13. I watched it with my 12-year-old and she thought some bits were scary. No one dies, but injuries occur and there are several scenes in a butcher's shed. There is very light nudity that shouldn't upset anyone.
  • The movie is mostly in Finnish, with some English.

The story sets itself up quickly. A mining / exploration crew is finding strange things in their core samples. Things like wood shavings and an ice block. The man in charge is delighted, he has been searching for the grave of the true Santa Claus and believes this is it. Two kids overhear the men working, then sneak out. The older kid does not believe and dismisses it. The younger starts to research Santa Claus. "The Coca-Cola Santa is a lie," he says at one point. The books say this is a Santa that walks barefoot in the snow and eats bad kids on Christmas.

This movie employs the gimmick of the Kid Who Knows the Truth. (I don't see that on tvtropes.com, but it should be there.) He sees all the evidence and it all adds up to nasty-Santa-is-back to him. It's handled very well here, though. The boy never tells the adults what he believes, so he is never dismissed by them. And the adults are getting involved with some stuff of questionable legality and chalking up his strange behavior to that.

The ending was not what I expected, making the movie more humorous than it had seemed earlier. Twenty-three opened doors on the Advent calendar out of twenty four.

Final thought: the last door stapled shut to keep Christmas from coming any sooner