Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Valhalla Rising (2009)

Danish Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
An escaped savage leads a group of Pagans into the Holy Land - which turns out to be their private Hell.

Silent killer One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) escapes from his captors, with a young boy following him closely. They stumble across a group of Pagans who, aware of One-Eye's reputation, persuade him to join them on an expedition to the Holy Land.

After days on the sea, the entourage lands but instead of the dry, arid land of Jerusalem they find a forest and clearing rich in water. They decide they must be in the wrong place, but as they try to escape, they find they are being stalked by something altogether more frightening.

For those who enjoy the scenery of Scotland, you're in luck. For an hour, the camera pans around the countryside, mountains and mist (especially the mist) with a group of pagans trudging back and forth wondering what to do without a script.

How the producers of Valhalla Rising managed to persuade a James Bond villain (Mads Mikkelsen) and Billy Ellliot's Dad (Gary Lewis) to appear in the film is beyond me. Both they and the other 'actors' are made to look like lost sheep in Scotland (so perhaps this is accurate) as they wander in and out of shot looking for the Holy Land - which they're going to struggle to find in Scotland.

As mentioned, there is an hour spent scouring Scotland which leaves 20 minutes of potentially good cinema. Alas, this is not the case. As the pagans leave for Jerusalem, we are forced to watch their excruciatingly boring journey across the sea (in a windless atmosphere with no-one rowing - no wonder they arrived in the same spot they left from). Mads kills someone, throws them overboard and there is no sign of a splash.

I have no qualms with ruining the ending for you. The cast of Zulu got lost, wandered onto the wrong set and performed a task it took Daniel Craig two hours to do - kill Mads. The only positive is that it brought the film to an abrupt end, much to the relief of my family who were reaching for the knives.

That said, there is another positive to come out from the film though. It is the perfect metaphor for Mads Mikkelsen's axe; simple, ineffective for a modern tool and will cause death at short range.

1 comment:

  1. Lol. I couldn't possibly agree more with this particular review. Valhalla Rising is hands down the most tedious movie I have ever seen. That scene in the boat was beyond excruciating, and something you just need to see to believe.

    That said, I also agree that the movie was well shot and the scenery was breathtaking a times. Plus the sparse action/fight scenes were brutal, just the way I like it. But these high points just make the remainder of the movie feel like something that was shot with the intention of using it to torture prisoners of war.

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