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Border 2019, A Spoiler Free Review + Explanation Section

Border 2018 Produced by Meta Film Stockholm Distributed by MoviePass Films

Border is a Swedish drama-thriller film otherwise known as Gräns. If you want the explanation click through to it.

If you’ve never heard of John Ajvide Lindqvist that’s okay, not too many people have. He just happens to be my very favorite author though and, he wrote the book Let the Right One In, back in 2004. Only four years later, it was adapted into one of my favorite films and then Americanised in 2010.

But why am I talking about this writer? Well, firstly because he is amazing and, secondly this film released in 2018 and, finally available to stream, was a short story penned by him too. After watching the film, I re-read the short story from his book, Let the Old Dreams Die and by gosh did the director Ali Abbasi do a spectacular job bringing this thing to life. Although blasphemous, it may actually be a shade better than the original text.

Eero Milonoff and Eva Melander in Gräns (2018)
Eero Milonoff and Eva Melander in Gräns (2018) as Tina and Vore.

What’s Gräns All About?

For those that whine and pine for originality in cinema, look no further. If you have seen anything like this before, please leave me a comment. I dare say that you haven’t.

I am going to do my absolute best to not give the game away during this review. But I will add a spoiler section at the end to list some differences between the original book and the movie. I’m also going to gloss over a few things that I went looking for on the net straight after.

The story starts with Tina, a customs officer who’s job is to stop people at the border. Tina has a gift though, she can smell a range of emotions. This gift allows her to pinpoint who has something to hide. One day she meets a stranger, Vore, who not only smells suspicious but at the same time arouses a curiosity within her she can’t explain.

Eero Milonoff and Eva Melander in Border (2018) Gräns
Eero Milonoff and Eva Melander in Border (2018)

Genres Covered in Border (Gräns)

The story is a drama, fantasy, romance of the peculiar kind and there will be moments you won’t believe what you are seeing. Go into it with the barest of information but keep in mind it’s folklore fable essence. For more information on the folklore and background of a few things, see the spoiler section.

Starring: Eva Melander and, Eero Milonoff, Jorgen Thorsen, Ann Petren and, Sten Ljunggren.

Eero Milonoff and Eva Melander in Gräns (2018) as Reva and Vore.
Eero Milonoff and Eva Melander in Gräns (2018) as Reva and Vore. Border explained review on Mother of Movies

How Good Was Border (Gräns)?

As I mentioned before, I’m a massive fan of the original author, his ideas are like nothing I have ever read before. This film and it’s predecessor Let the Right One In, are examples of where the film does the book justice. I would love to know just how much say Lindqvist has in the end result. I would like to think it’s a lot or the results wouldn’t be this spectacular.

Sure this story is strange AF but for those that whine about movies having the same ideas, themes or contexts that other movies have— you will never say that about this film. Although the author is known for his horror stories, this is a drama, fantasy with a romantic edge laden in the bizarre. Still, though, it contains all that pent up edginess you’d expect from a horror without any horror.

Themes are dark and ominous. Tina’s life is sad and lonely despite her incredible gift. One thing the book examines a little more is her background with men and expands on why she got with Roland in the first place. There is one particular chapter that relates to Tina and a friend. He tells her how amazing she is and what a great girl she is. However, he simply couldn’t be with her because she is just too ugly.

As well as the dousing of melancholy the film serves up, it contains some confronting ideas. I won’t go into specifics just yet, but don’t go in expecting a quiet carnage like in his previous film. 

Ali Abbasi

The films’ director, Alibassi has treated this story to only some minor adjustments. Save for some minor plot points, some switch-ups and a tweak of the ending, it’s integrity is very much intact. I adore what he did with its protagonists Tina and Vore. Their transformation onto the screen both aesthetically and performance-wise could not have been more perfect. 

This movie isn’t for everyone, it’s strange and bizarre but boy oh boy I loved it. Lindqvist’s ability to romanticize the unromantic is as amazing as finding two films that are equally as great once adapted from paper.

Overall, the complexity of this story and the magical nature of everything in it will simply re-ignite my passion to rabbit on about this amazing story writer. It’s told in a way you will never forget with cinematography that is beautifully done.

More From John Ajvide Lindqvist?

I went digging just now and saw that this same author has two more stories in ‘unknown development.’ The first is zombie flavored, I’ve read it and I couldn’t be more excited if you handed me a bucket of chocolate. The other story is called The Brothers Lionheart and seems to be a screenplay without a novel for me to go read ahead of time.

I give Border (Gräns)

4.5 two mounds are better than one out of 5

4.5 skulls out of 5
4.5 skulls out of 5

If you just love foreign cinema, try Hunting Emma, Tumbbad, Vidar the Vampire or choose the non-English world cinema category and find something that looks good.

Border (Gräns) 2018

Produced by Meta Film Stockholm Distributed by MoviePass Films

Spoiler Alert Picture
#spoileralert

Border Explained

For those of you thinking WTF did I just watch or simply want a bit more information on Trolls, I am the queen of research and found out a few things concerning the anatomy of the mystical creatures.

I’ll also explain why Vore did what he did, why Roland got kicked out and list some differences between the film and the book. Leave me a comment if you have any more questions.

Troll Anatomy & General Troll Stuff

From what I can gather from some troll information I discovered online, males have a bulge and a small nook. The females, however, have a small bulge and a big nook. If you are trying to guess what nooks and bulges are, the nook is a vagina. The bulge is the penis and both are similar to human organs except they obviously look a little different.

Both male and female trolls can have babies. Tina (or Reva) didn’t think she could have babies but as the female, it is actually easy for her to have one. Obviously, because Vore was spitting out hisiits, once he and Reva did the deed, instead of a hisiit, he had an actual troll baby.

The hiisit was produced by him as an unfertilized egg from the troll. Because it can be shaped into anything, Vore would mold the hiisit into the form of the baby he intended swapping it with. From there, he had successfully stolen a human baby to traffic. In the book, Vore takes a picture of Elisabet’s baby so he can go back and mold it. He justified this because his parents were locked up, experimented on and killed. Revas parents also and many other troll babies were taken away by humans and made to think they were human.

Vore’s Purpose

Vore’s purpose in life is to enact revenge upon humans. He points out that humans are creatures that don’t deserve what life has to offer. He teaches Reva a little about troll-life and dietary habits and through Vore, Reva comes to life.

Roland’s Purpose

Reva’s lot in life was a sad and lonely one. In the novel, she does have friends but her looks are never able to get her a man to be interested. Roland was the first person she met who showed an interest in her but despite this, she was unable to close the deal because, well she is a troll.

This belief of Tina’s that she was unable to have sex led to her believing she was unable to have children. In the book, it talks about how Tina had considered having IVF and having a baby with Roland.

In the book, Tina explains that Roland was a good company. She rented the room out originally so that she wasn’t alone. He became her companion but, despite her dislike of dogs, he started a kennel. Despite her hatred of television, he watched one religiously and, he was with other women frequently because she suggested her issues allowed him to. This should explain somewhat the extent of her anxiety when she throws him out. He wasn’t a bad person but he wasn’t exactly awesome to her either.

A Few Differences Between Gräns the Book and the Film

  • In the book, Tina drank often and this was her way of switching off her abilities. She liked to drink wine.
  • The ending is completely different in the book.
  • Most of the ways in which Reva explains her emotions and actions are done through diary entries.
  • In the film, you could easily assume that Vore is gone and she is left again, by herself. Or you can assume she was intending on leaving her human life behind due to her feeding the baby a cricket. This is the letter from Vore to Reva before she leaves with him in the story:

Tina

I knocked on the door. You didn’t answer. Do you still feel the same?

My job is selling children. If I had been a human being, I would have been evil. I don’t know how you judge. But the law would put me in prison for life. I’ve stopped now.

I am carrying our child. A hiisit is an unfertilized egg. A child is a fertilized egg. It will grow up to become a creature like you me if all goes well. I am intending to give birth to it and let it grow up as it should. Perhaps in the Northern forests. I want you to be with me.

I will come to Kapellskar on February 20

Vore

When he arrives she leaves to go to him.