The plot takes its basic cue from the eponymous short story written by novelist and screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist, best known for the sublimely moving vampire story Let the Right One In. This time around, however, the odd relationship is between two adults, Tina (Eva Melander) and Vore (Eero Milonoff). She works as a customs agent at the arrival point of Viking Line, the ferry connecting Finland and Sweden, and has an exceptionally refined sense of smell, which allows her to identify all people who are guilty of wrongdoing. He hails from the neighbouring country and shares a mysterious connection with Tina on account of their facial features being similar.
Having previously dealt with vampires and zombies (the latter yet to be filmed Handling the Undead), Lindqvist opts for a more specifically Scandinavian piece of folklore in this story (though to specify which piece would be giving away a little too much). What remains unaltered is the balance between Nordic verisimilitude and a slightly surreal mood, deftly handled by director Ali Abbasi with a subtly 'dirty' approach that reflects the more savage nature of the mythology at play.
Much like in Let the Right One In, there’s a certain awkwardness bridging the real and the unreal, with the more supernatural elements shedding a light on what it truly means to be a monster in human society. The lines between humanity and inhumanity are deliberately blurred, the more shocking parts of the story coexisting with moments of tenderness and humour (the relationship between Finland and Sweden makes for a brilliant joke that drew the most laughs during the film’s Cannes premiere). It is not always easy viewing, but the quirkiness makes it broadly enjoyable and gratifying.
Among the horrors and laughs, Border also boasts a major star-making turn from Melander, who showcases her full range under layers of make-up in one of the most unusual high-profile roles in recent years. She is vulnerable, charismatic, hilarious and heart-breaking in equal measure, with strong support from Milonoff whose off-kilter diction (he learned his lines phonetically) adds to the overall pleasant strangeness. Together, they form the most oddly charming couple to come out of Swedish cinema since Blomkvist and Salander.
This film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2018. The UK release date is yet to be announced.
|What||Border film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
01 Sep 18 – 01 Sep 19, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more information|