Border Blu-ray Review

Feeling different and alienated from the rest of society isn’t something that I find hard to relate to, although I’m hoping it’s not because I resemble a troll. 

Having watched Ali Abbasi’s latest film Border, maybe I’m not the one who gets to make that decision.

Customs officer Tina is a bit different from the normal border force stereotype. Not only does she resemble a more ogre-like creature but she also has the animalistic ability to smell if someone is feeling guilt, shame or any other negative emotion, which is quite useful in her industry.

She sniffs out drugs, contraband and child pornography without barely showing any emotion herself.

In her downtime, Tina resides among the woodland and nature of the Swedish countryside with a more human-like partner called Roland whose main passion in life is his dogs – and might explain why he enjoys the company of Tina. She also occasionally visits her grumpy human father who resides in a nursing home where his memory continues to fail.

Tina’s life is a fairly mundane mix of work, home, and family – but all this changes after an encounter with a similar-looking but more carefree and reckless individual called Vore that sparks a strange emotion and attraction between the two characters.

Our anti heroin heroine subsequently embarks on a voyage of self-discovery, which raises and questions that Tina never thought were going to be asked in her life.

Based on a short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of the wonderful Let The Right One In, which was itself adapted into one of my favourite modern horror films, Border is best watched without knowing too much about what you’re getting yourself into.

So I won’t.

What I will say is director Abbasi has made his film look beautiful. The stunning natural wonder of the woods and waterfalls used in Border add a folklore element, making this feel like a fairy tale.

It also produces a distinct separation between the human and animal worlds Abbasi has created, communicating the obvious disconnect Tina and Vore feel from the world around them, while amplifying the attraction they have to nature and consequently each other.

Our unlikely leading couple both embrace nature and feel more at home among the trees and woodland creatures than amongst humans.

Eva Melander and Eero Milonoff both excel in their ‘alien’ roles as Tina and Vore, looking and sounding incredible as their neanderthal selves and displaying highly believable animalistic tendencies. Their growls, grunts, sniffs, and snarls feel neither out of place nor forced.  

Some of Border’s imagery will leave you shocked and disturbed, but this isn’t a horror movie – rather, it’s a clever examination of society dressed up as a fantastical film that wears it anti-human statement throughout.

For me, Border is a film about finding your kind, finding your place in the world, a place where you feel comfortable and connecting with like-minded people while still embracing your individuality. The message here is that being kind and moral is the best path in life, no matter your place.

It’s a thoroughly original and interesting film which surprises, romances and shocks throughout. You’ll be hard pushed to find a more bizarre yet beautiful and enjoyable film then Border this year.

Andrew Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

July 2019