30 November 2018 | paul-allaer
One of the most original and fantastical movies of the year
"Border" (2018 release from Sweden; 110 min.) brings the story of Tina. As the movie opens, we get to know Tina, a Swedish Customs inspector, who happens to have an obvious facial deformity, as well as a heightened sense of smell which allows her to detect how people feel (shame, rage, fear, etc.) One day she is able to sense something on a guy, and it turns out he was hiding a memory card containing child pornography. The police are amazed at her abilities, and ask her to assist in the investigation as to who made the pornography. Meanwhile in a parallel story, one day a guy passes through Customs, and he happens to have a very same facial structure... At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from up-and-coming Iranian-Swedish writer/director Ali Abassi. Here he brings a tale to the big screen that without a doubt is the one of the most original and fantastical movies of the year, period, and I see more than 150 movies per year. Given the plot-heavy nature of the movie, I can't say a whole lot more, so you'll just have to take my word for it. And even simply describing the plot would never equate to the actual movie experience. The comparison is unfair, but I can't help but think back to another Swedish movie from now already 10 years ago that also surprised us out of nowhere: "Let the Right One In". The comparison is unfair because that is a horror film, and "Border" certainly is not that. But it's the originality that strikes me as the common character in both. Beware: there are some scenes in "Border" that some people will find absolutely disturbing, if not worse. No, this movie is not for the faint-hearted, that's for sure. Major kudos to Eva Molander in the role of Tina, under heavy make so that she's basically unrecognizable, but what a performance, oh my!
"Border" premiered at this yer's Cannes film festival, to universal acclaim. Sweden has also submitted this as its official entry for the 2019 Best Foreign Language Movie nominations. The movie opened out of the blue at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and the Thursday early evening screening where I saw this at was not attended well (5 people, including myself). As it turns out, Thursday was the last day of its limited 1 week run. I can's see this playing long in theater, and I'm also quite certain that Hollywood will not end up remaking it (as it did with "Let the Right One In"), for that "Border is just too "out there". But don't let that deter you from checking it out, be it in the theater (not very likely), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion. For me, "Border" is a WINNER.