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Valhalla Rising

2.8 out of 5 stars 532 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Acclaimed Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn follows his worldwide smash Pusher trilogy and the widely praised Bronson with his most daring film yet. Valhalla Rising is a brutally beautiful Viking film with international star Mads Mikkelsen ( Casino Royale, Clash Of The Titans ) as One Eye, a chained prisoner forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of his captors. When One Eye escapes, he stumbles upon a group of warriors headed to the Crusades. But fate has something else in store, as the men drift into the New World, where savages stalk them one by one in increasingly violent ways. Is One Eye an avenging angel or just the guiltiest of them all? The answers can be found in this ruthless, hallucinatory, one of a kind journey.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mads Mikkelsen
  • Directors: Nicolas Winding-Refn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI Media Group
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 2010
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (532 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0041KT3P8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,514 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Valhalla Rising" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris Wilson on October 3, 2010
Format: DVD
A peculiar though fascinating art house excursion, the 2009 film "Valhalla Rising" is a symbolic viking adventure about the discovery of the new world. To understand this film's aura, it should be noted it makes Terrence Malick's similarly-themed The New World feel like a summer blockbuster romp. Danish writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn has carved a bold name for himself with such challenging works as Pusher Trilogy and Bronson (Widescreen Edition), and this expedition into the muddy and bloody age of 1000 AD continues his refusal of convention.

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).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ok, don't read this review unless you have already seen `Valhalla Rising'. Because a lot of people still don't seem to get it, here's a capsule explanation of exactly what happens in the film, from someone who examines evidence of crimes and from that puts together suspects' MOs, serial killer methodologies, etc:

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.
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20 Comments 221 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Mads Mikkelsen is enigmatic and charismatic. He's fearsome, silent, ominous, brooding. It's pretty amazing that he does such an excellent acting job without saying a word throughout the entire film. Being a great actor, though, it's not surprising... it's only surprising because we're so used to clever banter, catchphrases and pretentious babble filling our ears as we watch a film. It's easy to forget that acting without words is an art. His performance alone is worth 3 or 4 stars. Whether you dig or get the film is irrelevant... Mads is amazing. He carries the film all the way.

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
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