Top critical review
Confused, Scattered, Somewhat Engaging Viking Flick
on May 2, 2017
This film is sort of all over the place, and definitely an indie flick. As a fan of gritty, historical stories I really want to like it more. I am okay with films that don't fit a typical narrative, where there a no good guys by today's cultural standards, and I am fine with bleak. I love period props and scenes that show the day to day life of the past. These are the things this film does sort of okay, if you set low expectations. I can also set aside things like somehow crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat without supplies to get into a good period flick.
I am no film school student, but it is really tough for me to overlook its glaring cinematic flaws, however. Intolerably and inexplicably shakey camera work is alternated with still tripod shots. Endlessly fading montages cut from actors running left to right and vice versa all the time while supposedly traveling in one direction. Moreover, many scenes seem clearly included because the filmmakers felt, "Oh man, I really want to find an excuse to show this bird," "I really want to kill an animal on film," or, "Dude, you know what would rule? Pooping for real on camera!" Layer in poor cuts and editing. All this makes the film seem like an overlong student project with a neat premise but flawed execution. The baffling synthwave and heavy metal soundtrack doesn't jive with the attempts at drudging realism, but nor does it add anything like the modern soundtrack of Knight's Tale did. The scene cards, 70s style camera effects and poorly written subtitles are likewise anachronisms that do nothing for the film.
Still, it is oddly compelling. I mean why am I even writing this review? There is something going on that sticks with you, but I can't say what it was.