This Swedish fantasy follows a customs officer (Eva Melander) whose Neanderthalic features make her an expert at sniffing out contraband but equally a social outcast, hence the title. Imagine Bright as directed by David Cronenberg and you’d still be way off.
Strangely positioned on the border between love story, body horror, police procedural and fairytale, Border (Gräns) is another case where it’s best you just see it without knowing much about it so allow me to keep this vague, Theresa May style.
Ostensibly the story of a woman with a chromosome defect (I’ve stopped talking about Theresa May now by the way) and a Cronenbergian invitation to view defect differently, the picture is also a racial allegory, contemplating integration and segregation; acceptance and ostracism; assimilation and emancipation.
Co-written by Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In), there’s subtlety and humour in the way the film plays with identity and skewers authority, and dark sobriety in its slow-burning, long-lingering storytelling. Director Ali Abbasi uses natural, animal imagery to emphasise our primal similarities and humanity’s monstrosity, creating an almost subliminal atmosphere that burrows into your head like a woodland creature.
With timely themes, Oscar-nominated prosthetics and the weirdest sex scene since Being There, Border is fantastic in every sense of the word.