Valhalla Rising

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Nau of Sands
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Valhalla Rising

Postby Nau of Sands » Tue 19 Oct, 2010 11:47

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Nicolas Winding Refn is a Danish director, known for his Pusher trilogy. His new film, Valhalla Rising has very little in common with these, it is a very peculiar, spaced out, slow, extremely beautiful movie. Be advised that loving the Pusher trilogy does not imply you ll love this trip in the Viking world.

Pusher were very realistic, gripping movies, with a naturalistic style. Valhalla Rising is a refined and contemplative unidentified thing, a long hallucination. Disliker ones would call it Eurotrash style.

The common point is that Refn doesn’t like compromises and reach the completion of his ideas without sticking too much with established rules. The viewer will love or hate this movie, finding it boring or fascinating.


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The main character is played by the very impressive Mads Mikkelsen. In this movie he doesn’t speak and is one-eyed. He is a killing machine, coming from nowhere, or from hell, as some say. What are his objectives ? He begins the movie as a slave trained for fighting pits, killing one opponent after the other, relentless. Who is he ? A poor man or a God from the Nordic pantheon ? Has he come on earth only to go back to hell bringing back with him fierce warriors ? Or is hell the world he is now living in ?

The film is sequenced in several chapters, but actually there is two parts, both very different. The first part is the fighting pit killing machine story , the second part begins with the encounter with a group of evangelising warriors aiming for the Holy land. With this violent bunch, Mads Mikkelsen will begin a journey to some place else, which could be Holy land. Or not.


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I really liked this enigmatic, shot in a very beautiful way, with a very sophisticated treatment of the images. The public at which it aims is not clear, it is not a classical action movie, it is rather an episode of the dawn of the gods set in an unexpected place.

Extremely good, but it’s better to be in the mood seeing such a kind of movie if you try the experiment. I give a 5/6 to this danish/british production.


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