border

DIRECTOR: Ali abbasi (shelley)
STARRING: eva melander, eero milonoff, jorgon thorsson, and sten ljunggren

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★★

Customs officer Tina is known for her extraordinary sense of smell. It's almost as if she can sniff out the guilt on anyone hiding something. But when Vore, a suspicious-looking man, walks past her, her abilities are challenged for the first time ever. Tina can sense Vore is hiding something she can't identify. Even worse, she feels a strange attraction to him. As Tina develops a special bond with Vore and discovers his true identity, she also realizes the truth about herself.

I've always liked slightly weird films. My wife can't get her head around The Shape of Water being one of my favourite all time movies. "It's about a lady who falls in love with a fish - its just not realistic." Then begins the debate. But I've got to be honest Border is a couple of steps weirder than nearly anything I've ever seen. 

Tina is a customs officer that is able to sense guilt, fear, or rage on any person that comes past her post which helps her find if they are hiding contraband. She also has a facial deformity that causes her to be bullied. One day a mysterious man, Vore, comes through customs and he has a similar facial structure to Tina. They fall in love and Tina learns that she isn't actual human but that they are both ... trolls. 

I know it does sound weird and Border really is weird. Border has probably one of the most bizarre sex scenes ever put to screen. But there is beauty in the bonkers. 

Ever since the dawn of time, parables, fables, and fairy stories have been told to communicate deeply important human truths. Border is one such tale - a modern day parable which explores what it is to be truly human, how we should treat those that are different to us, and how we can have compassion on those who have treated us so badly. 

 

We learn throughout the film that during the 70's trolls were abused by humans and that Vore wants vengeance as he believes all humans are evil whereas Tina believes that some humans can be good. Its more than Tina and Vore being different or outsiders, we've all felt this to a certain extent, its about them being pushed out to the very edge of society and how they ultimately respond differently. This tension of compassion and understanding of the 'other', someone who is completely different to you, lies at the very heart of the films narrative.

The world that director Ali Abassi has created for a film that is so fantastical is remarkably grounded. Its because he has done the ground work not only in establishing and explaining this world, but in investing in the relationship and back stories of the characters. What also helps his cause is the tremendous performances from his leads in spite of their faces being encased in prosthetics.

A modern day parable, Borders is bonkers but there is incredible beauty to be found here.

★★★★

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