Regardless of the lack of continuity, Rare Exports is indeed directed with an impeccable eye. Like most foreign arthouse affairs before it, Rare Exports looks too good to be considered an independent film. The style and attention to snow, Finland's most recognizable facet besides underground metal, is an interesting and fresh aesthetic. Where S. Korea utilizes natural rainy elements to give their cinema a dreamlike discourse, Rare Exports does the same with snow, creating a winter wonderland without the chilly side-effects. So at your leisure, enjoy Rare Exports for what it's worth. Because of the gorgeous composition of the film, Rare Exports has been receiving incredible press, some critics making such a bold statement to refer to this film as the definitive Christmas movie - one to revamp the sub-genre. The ratio of Christmas films is almost disturbing though, as Rare Exports doesn't have to contend to any challenger but still acts as if it came ahead in a close race. Being as Christmas is only celebrated once a year, that's the equivalent of me riffing Leprechaun for being the best St. Patrick's Day film of all time. Do any others even exist? Am I even interested enough to research? Probably not.
So apart from the cinematography and the excellent effects, what does Rare Exports offer you in return for a ticket or video sale? Not much, sadly. Given such a build-up, you'd think that Rare Exports would deliver that yuletide evil that's been hinted in taglines adorning viral promotional posters plastered all over cinema sites. The only impression Rare Exports left with me was a mound of unanswered questions and a wasted aesthetic. The boy's transition from mousy introvert to general hard action hero is floundering and clumsy. Once the boy fires a shot into the air and leads his seniors into battle with an unwavering speech of motivation, my interest quickly dwindled into but an ember. It's such a shame though. Rare Exports is the film whose hype wouldn't deceive me, I refused to allow this much. Almost instantly, this awkward transfer of manhood had preceded the short films, leaving me puzzled. The shorts I mention are the ones in which the boy had reverted into an anti-social mess of female chromosomes, only to revert back into the "manhood" he discovered early on in the Rare Exports timeline. Am I the only one who didn't miss his reinvention? Apart from the wounds suffered at the hands of continuity and Helander's inability to commit oneself to a set idea, Rare Exports isn't a naughty film. It's charming and well-shot, with enough suspense to last you until the credits grace the screen. If you feel that void pulsing in your chest, don't worry. I felt the disappointment thrive as well. No hard feelings though, I'm used to being disappointed on Christmas.