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Sunday, June 27, 2010

VALHALLA RISING

By D.E.Levine

Director: Nicholas Winding Refn
Writer: Roy Jacobsen and Nicholas Winding Refn
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Gordon Brown, Andrew Flanagan, Gary Lewis, Gary McCormack, Alexander Morton, Jamie Sives, Ewan Stewart, Matthew Zajac et al.
Producers: Johnny Andersen, Hennik Danstrup, Bo Ehrhardt
Executive Producers: Christine Alderson, Lene Borglum, Yves Chevalier, Linda James, Mads Peter Ole Olsen, Carole Sheridan, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Thor Sigurjonson
Co-producer: Karen Smyth
Assistant Producer: Eva Jacobsen
Original Music: Peter Kyed and Peter Peter
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Language: Danish and English
Genre: Action

Meant to be an epic, this film falls short of its goal. With mostly British actors playing Norsemen, the film centers on a mute named One Eye taken prisoner and forced to fight to the death in staged bouts in order to survive. Kept in a cage by his Norse warrior captors and fed sparsely, he is befriended by a young boy.

Upon his escape from bondage, he is followed by the boy and the two fall in with a band of Vikings on their way to plunder the Holy Land and reclaim Jerusalem. In an obvious attempt to mimic Sergio Leone and Werner Herzog, while the film has beautiful cinematography of the Scottish landscape where it was filmed, it never achieves a memorable peak of drama or emotion.

This is both an odd and beautiful film. Divided into six parts the title of each part seems to be about evoking a mood rather than telling a story. However, throughout the film while the characters go through the motions, there doesn't seem to be any effort to propel them towards a goal, conflict or conclusion. While it's beautifully filmed, the film doesn't really make it as an action film.