I don’t know about everyone else- but I remember my Christmas holidays to contain 100% less naked dirty old man penis than was present in the “whimsical” RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE. Granted this film does not even try to cater to the traditional tale of Santa Claus that people like me grew to know and because of that, I suppose I can let the abundance of graphic male nudity slide- but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it a bit awkward. RARE EXPORTS in a general sense is more of a skewed Christmas adventure than a full blown evil Santa horror movie and I have to say, that disappointed me more than just little.
RARE EXPORTS follows a very different lore of Santa fables where rather than a jolly old fat man that travels from house to house to deliver children gifts and holiday cheer he’s a giant demon-like monster that cooks and eats naughty children. Unfortunately for the foreign residents in this film the nasty old codger was frozen and buried in a mountain right by their home and a group of Americans have carelessly dig him up to make bank and didn’t account for the throngs of violent naked hobo looking helpers might take offense to them uprooting their hungry leader.
I’m all for different cultures making movies that cater to other likeminded folks, which is probably the only reason I won’t come down too hard on RARE EXPORTS. To be honest a good portion of the movie I found to be pretty effective and well made, it’s just that the way it all adds up was very unsatisfying and left me quite cold at the end. There chunks of sequences that have very interesting dynamics at work that fizzle out at the end or just don’t resonate as I would have liked. As this is a variation on Santa that I personally am not familiar with I’m not shocked that I don’t love this film but even for pure entertainment value I just didn’t feel like the film succeeded at following through with a lot of the cooler ideas they were presenting.
The film easily had me hooked with the idea that I was getting set to watch a demon Santa round up and chomp down some bratty kids, but it became pretty evident that this was something that ultimately wasn’t going to happen. It’s teased around several corners, but never followed through on. There are a lot of very dark elements here involving a child’s fear of this looming evil Santa and the violent behavior of the “helpers” which is displayed in a disappointingly sanitized way and replaced with a more disturbing commitment instead.
Here’s where I start really feeling the disconnect from me and the filmmakers. There is a ton of set up teasing at a battle between the protagonists, Santa and his helpers which we almost get to see- then we get something else altogether. Instead of a brash of fighting the protagonists spend the finale running from dirty naked old men that are furiously springing with their naked male genitals swinging around on screen steadfast for the little boy that’s with the adult men. The film goes so far as to actually depict all of the naked men running towards this little boy in slow motion- yes full frontal slow motion male nudity in a scene where they are all focused on going after a small child. Call me old fashioned, but this kind of twist is not only awkward, but certainly not appropriate for what basically ends up being an adventurous kid’s movie.
Visually the film had a good vibes, but there just is not a clear direction for where they wanted to take this story. There’s blood here and there, dark story elements and eventually the movie becomes all about a kid saving the day in a sort of light hearted Christmas season fashion. I quite simply just did not get it- no commitment was given to any specific tone that would make this easy to classify or recommend to anyone. I can tell you now on the volume of slow motion full frontal old man nudity alone people I’ve known for years would stop talking to me if I seriously recommended they watch this movie.
It’s more than just a slight possibility that I am not the target demographic for this movie- but I have to say that apart from my specific complaints I wasn’t mad that I watched the movie from beginning to end. RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE ends up being a movie that’s constantly removing a mask to reveal a new type of movie underneath- each of them a little less satisfying than the next but each with interesting features. I have to cover my tail and say that I cannot recommend the film to many people except to say there are some obscure redeeming aspects to the film. However, the finale of the film is far too strange and inappropriate for me to ever be able to say I would ever find myself longing to watch this again. If you’ve seen everything the watered down Christmas movies have to offer and want something different RARE EXPORTS will fill that bill and then some.