Blu-ray Review: Border

STUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR:Ali Abbasi | CAST: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jorgen Thorsson, Ann Petren
RELEASE DATE: Feb. 26, 2019 | PRICE: Blu-ray $22.99
SPECS: R | 110 min. | Horror fantasy romance | 2.35:1 widescreen | stereo | Swedish with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video | Overall

is truly a one-of-a-kind film, an unpredictable and often disturbing smorgasbord of horror, fantasy, poignant romance and Nordic noir, helmed by Ali Abbasi, who was born in Iran and lives in Sweden.

The film centers on Tina (Eva Melander, 6A), a security guard at the border with the unique ability to sniff out criminals as they enter and leave the country. Tina’s unhappy life, which includes sharing a cabin with her ne’er-do-well dog trainer boyfriend, is upended when she meets Vore (Eero Milonoff, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki), who has a remarkable resemblance to Tina and whose bodily smell can’t be tracked by her.  The two eventually become a couple, and soon discover their similarities, which include some radical habits and otherworldly behavior.

To be more precise would be to ruin the myriad of surprises that await at this Border. A clue to the subversive strain of the film can be hinted at by telling you the co-writer is John Ajvide Lindqvist, who adopted his own novel Let the Right One In into the acclaimed, offbeat 2008 vampire film.  Taboo subjects are part of the stew here, and audiences will not likely forget the characters or the unusual traits depicted here.

Border specializes in slow revelations, and startling audiences with said revelations. But while one may squirm or be put off by all that’s on-screen, there’s a sensitive side to the proceedings that’s deeply felt and tragic.

The acting of Melander and Milonoff is both strong and subtle, especially impressive under loads of makeup that distorts their bodies and transforms their faces into starkly fiendish facsimiles.

It’s obvious Border is not everyone’s cup of Absolut: Despite good reviews and winning the Un Certain Regard trophy for its “original and different” approach at the Cannes Film Festival, the title topped out at an okay $750,000 at the box-office. Cult success down the road, however, is a strong possibility, and the film’s odd and often off-putting ingredients could make that happen sooner rather than later.

Buy or Rent Border

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.