Skip to main content

Border (2018): A Dark Swedish Fairy Tale

Have you ever felt like you are alone? Like you exist and move around in a community of people that you are nothing like?

Imagine how Tina feels. She works as a highly competent border guard for the sole reason that her sense of smell is extrasensory. She can smell fear, shame, and any negative emotion on people as they cross through her security area, and she is never wrong about her suspicions. Her work career, however, might be the only thing she has going for her.

She lives on the outskirts of town with a boyfriend that owns a pack of dogs, and from all counts, they live together in a loveless domestic arrangement that is hard to imagine either of them conceiving. Things become a little clearer later as we learn that Tina owns the home and the boyfriend is enjoying the luxury of living rent free. Tina appears to have no family except for the man she calls father, who claims to have adopted her.

Tina is unattractive by human standards and is most often seen staring attentively and actively smelling people as they pass. She also loves animals, nature, walking barefoot, and being alone -- sometimes accompanied by a woodland creature. Think of her as an unattractive Snow White.

One day, however, a man who looks like her, Vore, crosses border and they two lay eyes on each other. Tina is scared, attracted, and bewildered by this man, and all of this is done without words. We just sense it and see it. The two are drawn to one another. Although initially Tina tries to be blase about her draw to Vore, eventually she seeks him out and invites him to live in her guest house.

All it takes is the boyfriend to leave for one dog show, and next thing you know, the two are cavorting indulgently through the woods, enjoying each other and the woodland life. But there is more to Vore than what he seems, and Tina finds herself conflicted between wanting to be with Vore and being true to herself.

This movie was beautiful and ugly, mysterious and yet simple in its storytelling. There were moments of such innocence as Tina goes from thinking she is alone to finally understanding there's nothing wrong with her. The abandon -- the bliss -- of finding someone that gets you is full on display.

I have heard multiple people compare the film to Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, and I have to agree with that comparison, although that's not something I would have come to on my own. That film was much more whimsical. This film was darker, more intense, less comical, more menacing. And while Shape is inviting to wide audiences, the intended audience for Border will be much smaller. This film was not for everyone. It's shocking, and there is an aggressive sex scene between the two characters that could cause feelings of disgust.

And, as a matter of fact, during other scenes, I heard people whispering disgruntled thoughts about the movie. This film is recommended for those who enjoy dark fairy tales, leisurely paced, menacing thrillers. It's a shocking, unforgettable experience.

What resonated:

  • The feeling of being alone and without a partner
  • The abandon of that feeling when you think you have found that person
  • The joy of sharing childlike experiences with a love
  • The quiet strength of realizing that even if you aren't with someone, they added something to your life. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Movie Review: Gone Girl (2014) and Lessons About Marriage

Gone Girl is a book-to-movie project that only took 2 years to complete, compared to most movie projects, which take an average of four years (Maze Runner, Twilight, and Hunger Games are all examples of this). Once I heard the movie was being released, I re-read the book in anticipation of the movie release. I have to say, the book was outstanding. I work at a library, and many people were checking out this book. Sometimes I am slow to pick up a hot book, just because I can be stubborn. The book took a genre like suspense, and took it to the new level. The book changes viewpoints and storytelling strategies so many times, and just as you think you have finally predicted the ending, it ends in a way that no one could possibly expect.

Only recently did I find a book that compares called The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, released two years after Gone Girl. Suffice it to say, I am not often enamored with adult fiction. Gone Girl is truly special.

I went into the movie with high hopes, but also r…

Movie Review: Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

From the moment we see Luke (Ryan Gosling), we like him. Is it because he makes a striking figure? He does, with his bleached blonde hair, muscles, and tattoos covering his body. He is all muscle and power, yet he's quiet and reserved, not eager for the spotlight. Is it because he's talented at driving a motorcycle? He is, and that's interesting, but he's no daredevil. The motorcycle he travels on isn't so much a vehicle to get around with as it is an extension of his body. He's not much of a talker. He communicates with the bike. He uses it to show who he is and how he's feeling. He rides the bike with two other stuntmen in a small metal cage. He slams it through the forest when he's frustrated. He's no bad boy. Not in the way that you think.


No, I think we like him and are affected by him because he's a walking wounded. We like him for the same reason we like his son 15 years later. A boy without his father is like a cat without his whiskers: b…