|Index||2 reviews in total|
After decades of phony Hollywood Vikings, you can finally see the real thing if this film ever makes it to video or DVD. It is made in Iceland, with Icelandic dialog, and captures the authentic speech and flavor of the sagas: the understatement, occasional grim humor, and slow nursing of grudges over the long winters until they flower into blood feuds. The film also shows the strong bonds of loyalty and affection that held families and clans together, and the painfully developed methods of negotiating settlements that prevented the medieval Icelanders from wiping each other out completely. Indispensible for those who love the Icelandic sagas.
This movie does a lot of things right, especially considering the
budget (etc) of the filmmakers. The music fits the bill really well,
the Icelandic language and scenery is beautiful and about as authentic
as you can get. Basing the story upon a saga, and using its conflict is
also a good move. Even the costumes and weapons looks authentic, even
though I do not know enough about this to judge. Having all of these
elements in place, together with some of the stylistic choices made,
makes for the perfect formula of a new kind of movie: the viking movie.
Taking the best parts from the "spaghetti western"-genre and putting it
into a completely different environment, basing it on completely
different material, and do an honest attempt to be historically
accurate. Sadly, few movies followed this movie's footstep, and so we
are (mostly) stuck with horned helmets and giant berserkers.
The problem with this movie is its story. Its taken from the sagas, but they could have made a bit more effort in making it understandable for an audience not familiar with the sagas. There's many characters that's hard to keep track of, and rituals that's not properly explained. You do get the gist of it by watching the movie, but I can imagine some quite simple steps, like more obvious visual cues separating the characters (like how the three main players in the good, the bad and the ugly are all very distinct) and a bit more establishing of the characters and relationships in the beginning of the movie.
All in all, this movie does a lot right, and I wish other filmmakers would follow up the foundation laid by this movie. We should have more (viking) movies like this.
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