Border (Gräns)

In Cinemas Now

Sense something beautiful.

Supernatural elements and border security collide in this Swedish Cannes winner about an oddly talented officer attracted to a recent suspect. Based on a short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of Let the Right One In.

"Customs officer Tina is known for her extraordinary sense of smell. It’s almost as if she can sniff out the guilt on anyone hiding something. But when Vore, a suspicious-looking man, walks past her, her abilities are challenged for the first time ever. Tina can sense Vore is hiding something she can’t identify. Even worse, she feels a strange attraction to him. As Tina develops a special bond with Vore and discovers his true identity, she also realizes the truth about herself. Tina, like Vore, does not belong to this world. Her entire existence has been one big lie and now she has to choose: keep living the lie or embrace Vore’s terrifying revelations." (Cannes Film Festival)

Trailers

Awards

Un Certain Regard Award, Cannes 2018

Directed by

Written by

Fantasy, Thriller, Romance, World Cinema, Festival & Independent

109mins

Rating: R16 Sex scenes, nudity, violence, sexual abuse themes & content that may disturb

Swedish with English subtitles

Sweden, Denmark

Tina, the heroine in Ali Abbasi’s Border, is not your typical leading lady. With a protruding brow, pronounced underbite, ruddy skin and a strange scar on her tail-bone, she’s not a conventional beauty; nor is she exactly social, more at ease amongst the animals in the woods that surround her house than with her colleagues or dog-obsessed boyfriend.

Fortunately, though, she’s got something going for her: a position as a border security officer at a busy port in a Swedish coastal city, in which she excels.

In fact, so good is Tina at her job, seemingly able to literally smell out offending passengers, that she has a more-or-less 100 per cent success rate at identifying passengers smuggling contraband into the country.

That is until the greasy, leering, pot-bellied Vore passes through, awakening Tina’s senses so strongly she goes so far as to order a strip search—bringing up nothing.

Of course, the fact that Vore physically resembles Tina like no one she’s ever seen before (right down to that tailbone scar) is no small part of her instant magnetic attraction to him—and might also help her discover the truth behind her appearance.

Adapted from the short story of the same name written by Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist, Border too is a strange, surreal hybrid of horror, romance and folklore—only this time a Hollywood re-make seems like a rather less likely prospect.

Both totally beguiling and borderline sick-making at times, Border gets pretty gnarly in places. With stunning visual effects and some very unexpected moments, it is not for the squeamish—and, without giving too much away, features one of the most insane sex scenes you’ll see in modern cinema.

Too broad to really work allegorically (doesn’t everyone feel like a yuck outside sometimes?) and with maybe a bit too much grim realism, Border is nevertheless elevated by phenomenal performances from its prosthetic covered leads and incredible visual effects.  

Together with a compelling story and a willingness to really, shall we say, ‘go there’ Border is a rare, discomforting, and incredibly inventive film and the wildest love story you’ll see this year. 

Hollywood Reporter

press

As a timely yarn about the mistreatment of minorities, both in Sweden and worldwide, Border is rich in allegorical layers.

IndieWire (USA)

press

Abbasi grounds the narrative in an emotional foundation even as it flies off the rails.

Variety (USA)

press

An exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions.

Screen International

press

It is mesmerising in its initial oddness and develops into a complex, richly satisfying piece of storytelling in which all the seemingly jagged, awkward edges eventually fit smoothly together.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

...one of the most singular and genre-defying films to come along the pike in a great while... An absolute cracker.

Los Angeles Times

press

The refreshingly offbeat, sturdily handled "Border" is not just unlikely to resemble any of its subtitled competition but also anything else you'll see this year.

New York Times

press

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.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

press

A film filled with memorable imagery (and one or two that you really can't unsee), Border might not quite reach the heights of Let the Right One In, but it certainly leaves an impression.

A Swedish slow-burn adult fairy-tale

Featuring maggot-munching, fridge-babies, and an uncomfortably odd sex scene, Border is based on a short story by Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist. A Swedish slow-burn adult fairy-tale, it’s a dark riff on ‘The Ugly Duckling’, powered by a superb central performance by Eva Melander as a customs officer who literally sniffs out smugglers. Director Ali Abbasi delivers a strange yet compelling tale, let down by a glacial pace that helps build characters, but hinders in terms of a “twist” those familiar with folklore will have guessed long before it’s revealed.