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Top Customer Reviews
There is nothing pleasant about Refn's nightmarish world (filmed on location in Scotland) where men wear sodden rags, tromp through mud and wage wet battles to the death. An oppressive fog covers all, and scarred men stare quietly into space desperately searching for definition. Small campfires provide little warmth, and what few women are seen are naked and chained together as slaves. Harsh does not begin to scratch the surface of Refn's haunting imagery (aided by Morten Søborg's brilliant cinematography and a fascinating musical score of Peter Kyed and Peter Peter). Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen displays unique presence as a one-eyed viking, appropriately named One Eye. He's evidently a captive, residing in a wooden cage and carefully fed like a lion by the orphaned blond boy Are (Maarten Stevenson).Read more ›
A mute slave, One Eye, is forced by his captors to fight. One day, he finds an old arrowhead by submerging himself in a waterpool located on some mountain upland, after having a dream about the event. Later, One Eye uses the arrowhead to free himself and kill his captors. From this, his mind forms an abstract construct about submersion in water giving him the key that unlocks his freedom. An unnamed slave boy accompanies the newly freed One Eye, and they encounter a group of Christian Scots-Gaelic warriors who are on their way to the Crusades. One Eye and the boy board the Christians' ship, and with them sail away into a dense sea fog that does not lift until they find their ship has somehow left the sea and floated inland along the course of an unnamed river. Their location is uncertain and soon becomes a point of contention among the travelers.
In this unfamiliar land, One Eye and his companions encounter some signs of human habitation: raised wooden biers holding decayed corpses and tribal religious paraphernalia stand in a lightly wooded area. Pay attention here, and you can see near this location a waterpool or small pond with the trunk of a dead, sun-bleached tree rising out of the water, or from the shore. There is a scene where the group is approaching the biers, and the waterpool/tree is there between them and the biers; another waterpool/dead tree tableau can be seen briefly for a moment behind and to the right of the leader of the Christian warriors.Read more ›
Story-wise, the film is at times quite surreal and ends in such a non-Hollywood sort of way that absolutely guarantees a low rating from many "reviewers". If you recall Terry Gilliam's battles to end "Brazil" the way he wanted, and not the Hollywood way, you'll have a feel for how this goes. It's quite brave, really. At the same time, it brings Mikkelsen's wild, dangerous character to a level of sacrifice and honor that few protagonists ever attain.
If you glance at the ratings, you'll see that people either love or hate this film. I've got to point out, though... these people giving this film 1 star shouldn't be rating films anywhere. A 1 is a preposterous rating for a film of such excellent cinematic quality, not to mention Mikkelsen's performance. Now, the easy thing to say is that these folks give a 1 to anything that doesn't have explosions in it, or f-bombs, or isn't an over-hyped piece of Hollywood excess. No doubt that is the case for many of these people... they'd be better off watching "Armageddon" for the 400th time than watching this film, which requires some thought and appreciation. But maybe they didn't get into it... fine. But a 1 rating is a joke.
4 out of 5
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm still not sure I understood everything that happened in this movie, but I found Mads Mikkelson's performance really compelling. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Susan Watts
This one didn't do it for me. There was so much build up waiting for a Big Moment, which never came. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sharon Delarose
I get it there isn't much in the way of dialouge and it doesn't have that happy element required by so many people. That being said, I think that this film is extraordinary. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I thought that this was a good movie. The landscape was beautiful, the movie was artfully done. The music was a little strange, but fit with the surrealism if the movie. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Richard Davis
Took a while to get here but the grit of a period movie was not held back.Published 3 months ago by Brian Avery
Valhalla rising is the most bad ass movie ever. Even the background shots blew my mind. 100000000 gold star