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Directed by: Ali Abbasi
Starring: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jorgen Thorsson
Rated: R for Some Sexual Content, Graphic Nudity, A Bloody Violent Image, and Language
Running Time: 1 h 50 m
TMM Score: 4 stars out of 5
STRENGTHS: Original Story, Makeup, Writing
While aiding the police in an investigation, a customs officer who can smell fear develops an unusual attraction to a strange man.
If you follow this blog or our podcast frequently then you’ll know that we often discuss two things, A) it can be difficult to find new movies that are also good, and B) I will watch any kind of fantasy movie regardless of its quality. Those two things came heavily into play when it came to watching this film. The night I watched this, I had already tried twice to find a different film and both times I had found copies of the movie without subtitles. Frustrated, I resolved to find something else to fill the gap in my night. I perused Reddit for a minute, looking for any kind of recommendation, when I came across an entry that read something along the lines of: “Border (2018) was pretty good. It’s a fantasy thriller. It’s better if you don’t know anything going in.”
Fine, thought I. I found a copy of Border and within a few minutes I was completely engaged in the story. I do agree with my fellow Reddit user that seeing this movie spoiler free is probably the best way to go about it, so I’ll try to limit my observations on the plot.
“The Entire Human Race is a Disease.”
Tina (Eva Melander, Flocken) is a customs officer in Sweden whom can smell fear. After helping police nab a criminal involved in a child pornography ring, Tina’s peculiar services are used to assist the police. Meanwhile, a strange man named Vore (Eero Milonoff, Ganes), whom looks remarkably similar to Tina, begins to win her affections.
One of the things I appreciate the most about this film is its unique story. Really, I haven’t seen few films out there that tell this kind of story, and I’ve seen none that tell it the way this film does. This is a story about looking for your place in the world, about looking for love and acceptance in a place is undeniably cold and cruel. This is also a great example of fantasy realism, which is a genre that has only recently started to gain some mainstream appeal (The Shape of Water).
Both Eva and Eero give really good performances. They’re both buried under makeup, and they absolutely disappear into their roles. This was nominated for best makeup this year (I was unaware of this going into the film), and I can absolutely see why. The appearances of our main characters are vitally important to the film, and they look flawless throughout.
While I certainly enjoyed this movie there were small things here and there that keep me from giving this a higher rating. Some of the interactions are a bit odd, a few scenes are a touch awkward, and sometimes the writing gives a little bit too much away too early. Other than that, this is very unique film.
The best part about this movie is just the unique story it tells; if you can, see this movie unspoiled. If you pay attention, you should be able to put together what’s happening far before the film reveals it to you, but it’s still a fun ride. As far as fantasy realism goes, I’m happy to see the genre being taken more seriously; this might not be the next Shape of Water, but it shows that fantasy films, just like any other genre, can really say something that’s worth hearing.
I suppose I should also mention that this movie was written by John Avid Lindqvist, the Swiss author and screenwriter of the vampire story Let The Right One In. That movie is amazing.
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