EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|VALHALLA RISING (director/writer: Nicolas Winding Refn; screenwriter: Roy Jacobsen; cinematographer: Morten Soborg; editor: Mat Newman; music: Peter-Peter/Peter Kyed; cast: Mads Mikkelsen (One Eye), Maarten Stevenson (the Boy), Gordon Brown (Hagen), Andrew Flanagan (Gudmond), Gary Lewis (Kare), Gary McCormack (Hauk), Alexander Morton (Barde), Jamie Sieves (Gorm), Ewan Stewart (Eirik), Matthew Zajac (Malkolm); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Johnny Andersen/Bo Ehrhardt/Henrik Danstrup; Objectifs Films; 2009-UK-in English)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
("Pusher"/"Bronson"/"Bleeder") was born in Denmark and moved at 8 to NYC,
only to return to his birthplace to attend high school. His medieval Viking odyssey story is filled
with brutality (from a disembowelment to a skull smashed by a rock to a
throat slashed by an arrow, among a few of the violent incidents
depicted). It has six chapters, Wrath, Silent Warrior, Men of God, The
Holy Land, Hell and The Sacrifice.
One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) is a mute warrior who has been held captive
in a cage by the pagan chieftain Bardie (Alexander Morton) in Scotland and forced into fighting a
series of death-matches while chained. The slave is befriended by a
slave boy (Maarten
Stevenson), who serves as his voice--telling us I think “He’s from
hell,” yet the lad doesn't know where his home is. The slave warrior kills his captors and
escapes with the boy, only to go on a fog-laden boat journey looking
for the Holy Land, with Christian Vikings, newly converted, who are
going to battle in the Crusades for the glory of their God. When the
fog lifts, the Vikings discover they have not landed in the Holy Land
but in the New World they perceive as Hell and all meet their fate in a
brutal way by the pagans, including One-Eye. In his sacrifice,
imitating the Christian sacrifice of their Lord, One-Eye discovers his
true self (check out the title if you're not sure of who he's supposed
Hardly a history lesson, the clumsy arty actioner is dragged down further by all its unappealing violence, its misplaced religious theme, its thin plot line and the bloody horrible acting (including the mute performance by Danish icon Mikkelsen). For those cult film lovers who dig bad head trips and feel all the better for coming through a nightmare and wonder what it would be like living in a heathen dominated world, this one has the vision to take you to all those dark places but no further.
REVIEWED ON 12/27/2010 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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