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Valhalla Rising More at IMDbPro »

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59 out of 102 people found the following review useful:

This film was so horrible that it just made me angry

Author: fdenota2 from United States
9 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One word Agonizing, I was looking forward to an off the beaten road type of historical flick, a fresh look into the subject. It seems to attempt to be " a piece of art" rather than a film,and i understand what they were trying to achieve with it. However it is so painfully boring, frustrating,pretentious, devoid of any real emotion, and downright annoying. I get the faint feeling that a Film like this is truly insulting my intelligence on some distant personal level. there are artistic films that can cleverly dispense with dialogue and leave much for you to work out on your own, but they have to be engaging enough to stimulate profound emotional feelings in a viewer. Then there are films that seem to to have no real artistic merit but claim to be works of art be virtue of using this so called "artfull" cinematic formula. this is one is the latter. This same film could have been achieved with a series of still images in 5 minutes, and even then it would be mediocre at best. I would have gotten a better experience staring nonstop into a painting on a wall for 90 minutes, because thats basically all there is here, long shots of people staring at each other for no apparent reason whatsoever. what a waste.

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40 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

True masterpiece, a work of art. Deep and raw...

Author: Hugo França from Portugal
28 August 2010

This is what i call cinema at it's true and pure essence. This movie is raw, intense and beautiful. It focuses on the human nature, throws some great concepts from Nietzsche and adds a primal yet substantial ideology on how we are connected to nature. It reminds me of Apocalypse Now and how the journey moves on. Excellent cinematography and atmosphere. It really took me into the movie and made me enjoy every single second of it.

I've read some bad reviews and seen some negative ratings on this one, and i totally understand why. This movie caught a lot of attentions because of it's title, being English spoken and also because of the trailer, but sadly it ended up in the hands of some action-popcorn-thirsty-kids. Please go see Lord of the Rings and leave the ratings to those who seek a deep and philosophical movie. I'm not an intellectual freak and i love Lord of the Rings and other blockbusters but to those not familiar with Tarkovsky, Fellini, Bertolucci or even Leone will surely dislike this movie and not be able to see it till the very end.

The soundtrack is amazingly rich and original, the visuals are stunning, the story is simple yet deep and meaningful. I would say this is a cult movie and a must see, one of the best movies ever.

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40 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

Death has dominion over this nauseating Nordic blood bath of a movie

Author: Tom Rowsell from United Kingdom
23 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just as last year's Bronson was a huge step forward for Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn, from his Pusher trilogy, so too is Valhalla Rising a definitive progression in the formation of his identity as an auteur.

The tension of this slow moving story, punctuated with explosions of ultra violence and fountains of blood, is heart stopping. The dialogue is sparse, the protagonist a mute Viking slave, who has killed his masters and is accompanied only by a young boy, who speaks on his behalf.

The film is set against dark and ominous Scottish Highlands, occupied by Nordic pagans whose way of life is threatened by the spread of Christianity. A group of Christian Vikings find the pair and see the benefit of bringing the one eyed slave bezerker on a journey to Jerusalem for the first Crusade. After they embark, the Christians suspect that a mysterious fog that impairs navigation, is a curse brought upon them by the pagan slave. He is too powerful to kill and at any point in the film when he is challenged, there follows a gory scene with lashings of crimson and the barbaric sounds of axe cleaving flesh and splintering bone.

Without a background knowledge of the subject matter, the plot may seem far fetched and the violence gratuitous. It is remarkable that in fact every aspect of the film, from the decapitation of a chieftain, whose head is then placed on a pole (a magic rite to pagan vikings), to the accidental discovery of Canada hundreds of years before Columbus, were things that actually happened. All the activities of these fictional characters are based on archaeological and mythological sources.

The linear story of an escaped slave finding salvation amongst Christians is brought into question. The slave never confirms his beliefs, and is content to kill the Christians at the first sign of aggression. The name of the pagan protagonist is One-eye, a Viking nickname for their God of war, Odin. When questioned by the Christians as to the origins of the slave, the boy responds, "he was brought up from hell." It seems that One-eye is more symbol than character. His emotions and intentions are never made clear. He is a source of fear for the Christians, who mistake Canada for Hell, believing the pagan slave has led them there using magic. But he is also a guardian figure, who takes the boy under his wing after killing the rest of his tribe.

The film explores the complex issues of cultural and spiritual conflict that were being played out in Europe 1000 years ago. The Christianisation of Europe, the slaughter of the pagans followed swiftly by the first crusade and the slaughter of Muslims in the holy land are all addressed. While in Europe, the pagans are said to live on "the edge of the world," hunted and killed in their thousands. In Canada The tables are turned and the pagan Native Americans hunt the Christians. The Viking landings in the new world ended badly and foreshadowed the colonisation of the Americas 500 years later, resulting in more slaughter in the name of the Christian god. The repeating shots of crosses from obscure angles cut with One-eye's premonitions of extreme violence seem to be a message of the danger of Christianity. The Christian Viking leader's maniacal screams about "My new Jerusalem!" echo those of the early Christian settlers of America, who made similar declarations before slaughtering the native Americans.

The appeal of this movie for most, will not be the spiritual message, nor will it be the un-hurried cinematography and beautiful shots of the Scottish highlands. It will be violence. There is no denying the violent scenes are shockingly graphic, but they are too sparse to hold the attention of the average sociopathic gore-hound. Some sections are extremely drawn out and confusing, including a scene in which one viking rapes another, whilst under the influence of a hallucinogenic narcotic. Nothing is explicitly explained in the film. For some this will make the challenging story more intriguing, for others it will be simply bewildering.

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47 out of 83 people found the following review useful:


Author: agibaer from Austria
10 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Amazing how the director managed to expand a 5 minute short into one and a half hours of suffering for the poor viewers.

There is no story, no acting, no nothing.

Granted, some viewers will find it "astonishing", "no Hollywood b...t", "ingenious", as is always the case with bad movies. Just swim against the stream for the sake of it.

I can't remember watching such a boring, useless movie since I made the mistake to watch a movie by Uwe Boll.

Give me back the 90 minutes of my life! Or at least the 60 minutes I was awake during the movie. Maybe I'll keep it as a sleeping pill. Just hearing the title will probably put me fast asleep.

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27 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

God was I wrong!

Author: zaddles from Canada
21 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Was I wrong to believe the reviewers who felt there was something profound about this film. I didn't see much of a view into mankind. I tried using my brain but perhaps it is too burnt out on Hollywood candy to fathom real cinematic art.

What did I see? People who live on the side of a hill keep fighting slaves and bet on them. Attendance is low however, possibly due to the Christians slaughtering all the other pagans. Times are tough all over.

Sailors are superstitious. OK, we've seen this theme before.

Christian crusaders are insane zealots. Yeah, well, does the word Duhh mean anything to you? The silent warrior has visions and communicates though a young boy. Yeah, OK, there's no reason for this, so maybe the warrior is the true messenger of god and those who talk about god are really just motivated by ambition and greed. Big whoop.

Everybody seems to want to be dead, get home by dying, say something to the dead they missed while alive or otherwise sit around and rot rather than do anything productive.

The kid lives. Youth is our hope for the future.

God was I wrong to watch that thing. A Scotland travelogue would be just as scenic. Watch Braveheart, there's some cool shots of hills in that too and the message is clear enough for dummies like me.

Whenever I read a negative review, I'd like to know what that person thinks is good. District 9 is the most recent movie I can think of that really made me pay attention. The daring to present the Afrikaner in all his bigotry, the effects and the redemption story struck me as a masterpiece.

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30 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Atmospheric But Not Much Else

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
25 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film comes with a lot of baggage a fact reflected from the critical reception it got on its release . Some people thought it was a masterpiece whilst others thought it was pretentious self indulgent torture porn . Likewise the comments here that seems to split people right down the middle . Somewhat typically I could only award it 5 out of 10 because seeing it my rating for this film wavered between 1 and 10 . It wavers from dreadful pretentious rubbish and masterpiece from scene to scene

To be honest I almost switched off after the first ten minutes as a one eyed man stands leashed to a pole and indulges in mortal combat in 11th Century Europe . Nothing is held back in this scene of violence or indeed in the suceeding scenes that sees heads bashed in and disembowelment . One can quite understand watching this in the cinema and seeing half the audience walk out in disgust . The film doesn't help its cause much by having little dialogue and the need to insert bizarre surreal sequences in to the narrative

The film does pick up when One Eye and his child companion come across Christian converts who wish to travel to Jerusalem to fight in the Crusades and board a boat a boat to the Holyland only to come across a strange place that geographically is not in the Middle East . Here the film works at its best as the characters try and work out the mystery of where they are and what fate has in store for them . At this point it's almost like APOCALYPSE NOW meets Tarkovsky

Impressive as this is director Nicholas Winding Refn feels the need to go overboard on the directing front and he's neither Tarkovsky or Francis Ford Coppola . Certainly the film has a sense of intelligible portent dread throughout but like his previous film BRONSON Refn shows off a little too much which becomes painfully irritating . Less would have certainly been more This interferes with whatever the subtext the narrative might been making . There's an ecclestastical meaning there somewhere . One character refers to One Eye " He has many Gods while we only have one ( Christopher Hitchen's would reply to this by saying " Good because we're getting closer to the true figure " ) and of course the characters are trying to sail to the Holy Land but this is undone by the pretentious imagery . Strangely the film features a twist ending that possibly isn't entirely leftfield since the characters drink a psychotropic brew that has a mystical maninkari effect , but this leads the audience to ask how anyone can sail to the Middle East only to end up in North America ?

I tried to like VALHALLA RISING and from a technical viewpoint it is very impressive . Unfortunately the director sabotages his own film by including too much gore and too much " Oh look at me aren't I being so clever ? " to the detriment of storytelling and subtext. It's difficult to see what market the film is trying to buy in to . Is it the historical epic crowd , the horror crowd or the art-house crowd ? This makes for a very unsatisfying film

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

What the hell am I watching here??

Author: AngryZombie808 from The Silver State Union
4 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all, I don't have a fukin idea what this movie is about. The ending of the movie is an utter shyte in the face. Totally waste of time through this "mute" movie. I just hope someone will fukk One Eye (main character) on his remaining eyes so that he becomes totally blind.

With the title Valhalla, I was hoping for something about the viking gods rising against a challenge, but nope... its not. And I also thought this movie is about the rise of anti-Christ against the viking gods, but nope... this guy is going for crusade in the Holy Land... So, this guy couldn't be an anti-Christ right?

And I continue watching this horrible movie that keep showing horrible images, a guy even get sodomized in this movie! WTF? And the ending is soo fu.cked up after 90 minutes of mental torture. I was lucky that I watched this on my laptop instead of going to cinema and waste my money on this piece of shyte

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

They are in hell, so are you.

Author: tcdehaas from United States
4 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

About as bad as one can make a movie, nice visuals, but the rest is utter crap. Too bad, this could have been a real gem. The opening scenes seemed to set the viewer up for a treat, again the visuals were captivating, the howling wind and the brutal combat scenes seemed raw and possessed a promising quality. When our one eyed anti-hero hooks up with the crusaders however the whole movie moves from slightly bad to utterly disastrous. But the movie lacked depth, there is literally no dialogue, and all that staring got old fast. All in all a very disappointing movie. Do yourself a favor and watch something else instead..

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

I am sure there once existed a story line in the director's head

Author: jonathan-schneider from Germany
2 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You don't expect much of story line when you see a chained, one-eyed warrior with an axe in his hand, but whatever story the movie was telling, the watcher was left in the dark. There is no reason in the character's acting. Questions that will occur when you watch this movie:

1. What's with the naked women in the beginning?

2. Where did the crusader expect to land? To be flushed straight into the Holy Land?

3. Where did they actually land?

4. Who is the brown guy and why is he sitting with them?

5. Are they supposed to be natives? So the actually got into a boat, got stuck in a fog and eventually landed in the New World?

6. Why do they think they are in hell? And why don't they explore the country? Jerusalem isn't at the ocean, so wherever they landed they'd still have to walk.

7. Why do they go crazy and kill each other?

8. Why does One-Eye sacrifice himself and why is being killed?

The movie has some sort of story line but it's not explained. It just scenes thrown together that chronologically make sense but I still couldn't follow the story.

My last question:

What is the "true self" that One-Eye apparently finds as it's advertised on the back of the movie?

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50 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

Strange, inventive, deep....but slow

Author: drakula2005 from Bulgaria
18 May 2010

The human nature is very strange.You see a movie still, an artwork, or whatever, and you think you know everything about a movie, you haven't even seen yet.Yes, like most of you, my expectations were at a very different level, but i was simply not prepared for what i saw.

This movie is epic, although the small proportions of it.And by proportions, i mean budget, scale, those things.The only thing i knew before seeing the movie, was an actor i have seen before-One Eye, or Mads Mikkelsen.He was great in Casino Royale and was one of the few things i liked about Clash of the Titans.So that's the main reason i went to see the movie.

But after all, i wasn't left disappointed, because the movie was good in a light, i haven't predicted.It was relentless, ruthless, brutal, but fascinating as well.It has a few underline stories, involving Christianity and faith in God, as well as paganism and disbelief.There are some Christian taboos as well.And according to Christianity "Valhalla" means hell not the place, where all warriors go.That's in the Scandinavian literature.

The story is pretty simple-a man is being kept as a prisoner, until he escapes with a boy.They meet some Vikings on their way to Jerusalem.They travel together, but next thing you know they find themselves on an isolated shore.The men start dying one by one, which forces them to think, they're in hell.They see the quiet One Eye as the man to blame.

The acting of One Eye was great-the thing, that caught my attention till the very end.He did an outstanding job, and if you want to hear him talk, see Titans or Casino Royale, instead.Because that is something very different.It is set on a smaller scale, and is gruesome and a little bit pointless at time, but that obviously was the point...

The thing i have against the movie, is the fact, it is too slow.It is creative, beautiful, masterful direction most of the time, but it is simply slow and even boring at moments.The dialogue is rare to be found.There was a scene, i didn't quite understood, because of the lack of dialogue.And the scene was important.If this was the idea, well, it wasn't transfered good to the audience.And if it wasn't, this means one thing-poor screen writing.But nevertheless, a good movie, not great, not terrible as well.It is hard to be explained.Maybe, "strange" is the word, i'm looking for.See it.Judge for yourself.

If you're waiting to see endless battles, that's not the movie for you.It has battles, but in a very small amount of time.If you're looking for a different take on Religion, movie-making and acting, see it.And, pointless at times, slow and boring-those are the things that can bother You.But if You overcome them, You'll probably like it a little bit more, because it builds intensity and mystery, sooner or later.

A movie, not from this decade, but a movie, that should have been made.A movie not for anyone.

My rate:6/10

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