Saturday, 22 June 2013

Film Review: VALHALLA RISING (2009)

Valhalla Rising - poster Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writers: Roy Jacobsen, Nicolas Winding Refn & Matthew Read (additional writing)
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama
UK Release date: 30th April 2010 (limited)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 22nd June 2013.


In a time where the Vikings had discovered Christianity, the non-believers are marginalised and pushed into the wilderness. A fighter who we later come to know as One Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) is kept prisoner by one of these pagan clans. They use him for prize fighting where he has won many fights and gained much notoriety. He escapes and wreaks revenge on those that had held him; all except the boy (Maarten Stevenson), the boy had looked after him. They travel and inevitably come into contact with some Christian Vikings. They take the pair of them with them on a journey to what they think is the holy land; but thing are not what they seem.

Valhalla Rising - 1 This film put me much in mind of Terrence Malick’s ‘The New World’ (2005) but nothing like as long and drawn out. I found it very atmospheric with the sound of the wind putting an edge on the, already bleak, visuals. There are moments of extreme violence but these are quite brief and I didn’t find them over the top or overly explicit. For a character that has no dialogue at all, I thought Mads Mikkelsen did a great job in conveying the emotions his character was going through. He’s quite stoic but you can see the rage underneath; really well done. I also very much liked the music by Peter Kyed and Peter Peter, there’s not much, but it really helps things move along, particularly towards the end. Over all, I found it quite a compelling watch but very atmospheric. Maybe too much atmosphere for some maybe, but worth sticking with until the end.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.7/10.

Valhalla Rising - 8 IMDb Score: 5.9/10 (based on 25,014 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 61/100: (Based on 15 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Valhalla Rising - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 71/100 (based on 55 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 46/100 (based on 16,202 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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