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Border
Ali Abbasi Suecia, 2018
I don’t know a lot about Swedish folklore, so I was in an especially cold state as I went into this movie, written by Abbasi, Isabella Eklof and John Ajvide Lindqvist (also the writer of the 2008 film “Let the Right One In”), from Lindqvist’s short story. As cold as possible is a good way to see it. This is a movie that aims to startle in overt and subtextual ways; the less known before viewing, the better.
October 25, 2018
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The ambitious sweep of ideas makes allegorical nods to various timely socio-cultural issues, from the oppression of immigrants to the ostracization of racial and sexual minorities. But Border is less invested in glib symbolism or political commentary than in the specific, felt experience of being adrift between social boundaries and categories—and in the thrill of reclaiming one’s identity from those lost spaces.
October 25, 2018
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For a while the film hovers around notions of identity (both national and gender based), but it abandons them in the second half in favor of narrative trickery. I found this compelling as I watched it, though I don’t feel I gained much from the experience.
October 25, 2018
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What really sinks the film is a subplot involving Tina’s involvement in busting a pedophile ring, an invocation of all-too-human evil that’s supposed to render her and Vore more identifiable by contrast. . . . Instead, it betrays a lack of faith in the familiarity of the Other, something that might have given lasting resonance to what is otherwise an initially intriguing but finally self-consciously distinctive curio.
August 31, 2018
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Absolutely essential to its story of self-discovery is Eva Melander’s outstanding, minutely sensitive performance as Tina, the troll in question—for such is the Scandinavian mythology tapped by the contemporary-set movie. Melander makes possible the film’s entirely persuasive narrative of sexual discovery (leading to one of festival’s most genuinely eye-popping scenes of revelation).
July 03, 2018
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Abbasi frames each visual revelation using absurd humour. Having spent good time establishing Tina’s lonely life, each expansion into fantasy works as a metaphor for the deepening of her existence. If the film has any excess in its 101-minute runtime, this is a result of letting both the procedural and personal plotlines run their course.
May 14, 2018
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An exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions.
May 11, 2018
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