Valhalla Rising Movie Review
admovieso | April 7, 2012 | No comments
The upcoming movie Valhalla takes place during the time in Northern Europe, around 1000 AD, when pagans were being overrun and taken over by Christians. The director of Valhalla is Nicolas Winding Refn, director of the trilogy “Pusher” and “Valhalla Rising”. Winding also wrote Valhalla Rising with Roy Jacobsen. In Valhalla Rising, Refn is continuing his examination of the dark nature of man.
This film is captivating in so many ways but will probably be too bloody and violent for the artsy film crowd and way too slow and moody for those who are coming to see the over the top violence. And there is plenty of over the top violence.
Mads Mikkelsen plays One-Eye, a mute fighter who is being held prisoner by the Norse Chieftain, Barde. He is a creature who is half man and half beast who is used by pagan lords much the way a pit bull is used in dog fighting. He is fierce and ferocious and thinks nothing of breaking heads and horrific bloody fights to the death. After slaughtering the men he had been fighting for he runs off with a young slave boy named Are who has been providing him with food. Somewhere on their trek they end up on a Viking ship, in a seemingly endless fog, having taken up with a bunch of Scottish Christians who are attempting to join a crusade to Palestine. Because they are unsure if One-Eye is the spawn of heaven or hell they take him with them. Some of them are going for spiritual reasons and others to reap the profits of the journey. The group ends of wandering hither and yon and to the New World. On the way each of the group ends up perishing mysteriously, one by one, until none are left. And that’s the end of the movie.
The scenery is amazing in its primitive beauty. The music is powerful and perhaps the best part of the movie. It’s good thing that the music is so powerful because One-Eye never says one word during the entire movie and the rest of the movie cast is none too talkative either. There are an awful lot of close-ups with characters staring into the distance as if in deep thought. We never find out whatever it is that they’re thinking about. Movements are very much like Japanese theater: very stylized and almost deliberate. Not much else happens. Really. Well, each character is killed but that’s about it.
This movie is so dark that it makes the present seem heavenly. There is so little dialogue that it’s almost impossible to come up with any movie quotes.