From the writer of ‘Let the Right One In’ (John Ajvide Lindqvist), and director of horror festival favourite, ‘Shelley’ (Ali Abbassi), ‘Border’ is a Swedish-Danish comment on outsiders of society and the importance of being yourself.
The protagonist, Tina (Eva Melander) is an ugly and frumpy customs officer on the coast of a Swedish city. Using her abnormally strong sense of smell she sniffs passers-by as they avoid detection. Correctly picking out drugs smugglers and eventually sniffing out a paedophile, her sense of smell is revealed to be able to detect people’s feelings and intentions.
Many other reviews have revealed a bit too much about this movie. I wouldn’t even look at the clips or trailer to the movie. Until it arrives at a film festival near you, I would avoid spoilers and let the film reveal itself on your initial screening of it.
The story treads a very fine line between having absurd and surreal characters mixed with a very intense and dark drama – imagine ‘The Greasy Strangler’ retold as an acerbic and chilling Scandinavian TV drama.
The special effects make-up on the lead performer are absolutely incredible, carrying off a look that seems folklorish whilst keeping her human enough. Barely.
Tina conforms to a society that constantly mocks and belittles her. The strong theme of being prejudiced against for your differences flows throughout the movie. Even through her grotesque appearance, the films does a very good job of making her relatable throughout.
I have to say I found this film to be nothing other than being utterly hilarious from start to finish. I have a very dark sense of humour and often get side-eyed laughing at the most inappropriate of things on screen. I want to enjoy this film again with light hearted horror audience, and not the stuffy Cannes audience I sat in last time.
The way Tina swine-like sniffs at objects whilst on the job, to the way the camera fixates on her constant mouth-breathing expression provides a lot of entertainment value.
The film ended with the biggest standing ovation for any film I’ve ever seen at Cannes. A very well deserved one, indeed.
Border (Gräns) new clip official from Cannes: