Border or Gräns is a unique and fascinating Swedish take on mythical creatures living among us from Scandinavian folklore. A fantasy film that looks and feels as real as the contemporary world we live in today.
When we first meet Tina (Eva Melander), we know she is different. Aside from the way she looks she also behaves oddly. At first, we can rationalize her behavior as a product of her loneliness due to her strange unsightly appearance. But slowly we realize it may be something else.
Tina has a live-in companion at home but they have a platonic relationship and his pet dogs are instinctively hostile toward her. She likes to walk alone barefooted through the forest surrounding her remote backwoods cabin home. Wild forest animals are attracted to her and are not threatened by her. She seems to have an almost supernatural connection with nature and wildlife. And her fear of lightning is more than justified.
Tina works as a customs security officer in Sweden on the border with Finland where she uses her extraordinary ability to smell people’s emotions and feelings, making her valuable for picking out criminals or people who are hiding something.
Many things in this film aren’t what they seem. We are given clues but even Tina is not aware of the truth about herself. The questions she has, slowly come to light after she meets a man named Vore (Eero Milonoff) who resembles her with many similar physical features.
After her second encounter with Vore, she becomes curiously intrigued by his strange behavior and senses that he’s hiding something when he reveals his knowledge of insects that she has always had a fascination with since her childhood.
As they get to know each other and become romantically involved, Vore eventually opens her eyes to a whole new world, making her aware of her true identity and powers. But what she discovers about herself will change her life forever, forcing her to make the toughest decision of her life.
Border is a weird but powerful tale about how people who look and behave differently are pushed to the edges of society, touching on issues of identity, racism, compassion and living in harmony with nature. It should resonate deeply with anyone who feels like an outcast, an orphan or has in some way been marginalized.
Thanks to the fearless daring performances of Eva and Eero, the characters of Tina and Vore are nothing short of mesmerizing and totally convincing. Border captivates with a world that reimagines ancient Nordic mythology for a modern audience while staying true to mythic traditions.
Directed by Iranian-Swedish filmmaker Ali Abbasi and winner of the Un Certain Regard award at the 2018 Cannes film festival, Border is a dark, mysterious thought-provoking drama unlike any other film I’ve seen and will leave audiences stunned in amazement, wondering what they have just witnessed.