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Valhalla Rising
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Valhalla Rising More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Neither great nor deep, nor terrible.

Author: Adam Pastor from United States
15 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Pros - this is a beautiful movie to watch, with sound to match. The lead actor was phenomenal.

Cons - this was a very self-indulgent and pretentious film. There was no story. That doesn't condemn it to being a bad movie, but it is hard to argue about its depth when there is no story. You cannot even say the beauty is the meaning constructed by the viewer, because the director and writer beat you over the head to ensure you take away precisely what they want you to. More on that later.

There is no real reason to establish a connection to the characters; they're basically props (apart from One Eye), with no believable motivations. There is probably a great story in the background of One Eye, but we never hear it. Instead, we just follow behind him like the boy, with no reason but curiosity.

The symbolism, that so many reviewers have praised, is very shallow, and very obviously shot and framed to ensure you get it. I am not sure where to draw the line between the direction and the cinematography, but it is as though the director had no idea what to do with the actors, so he just told them to stand with their heads cocked to one side and stare, against very lovely backgrounds. That's about 3/4 of the movie. The boat scene had the potential to be really great, but didn't quite make it. The drug trip scene broke the continuity of the movie and served no purpose. I think the reviewers connecting it to Heart of Darkness are close, but it was more Apocalypse Now - overt and over the top in trying to make you feel the weirdness by showing it to you, rather than suggesting it to you (or watching the actors react to it). It comes across as forced.

For evidence, I offer up the chapter titles - what was the point? They didn't add to the sparse dialogue, but served as clunky bold-faced signposts so you would "get it." It was like a guided tour, almost like watching the movie with the DVD commentary track on. It shows a lack of confidence and the movie would have been better without them.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Plot less, pointless

Author: bth2004 from United States
15 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is no way to go into this film expecting the correct thing.

Forget noteworthy acting, because there isn't any; the dialogue is sparse, and when it is there it is bland. Mads says not a word throughout, only carries one expression on his face the entire time, and has no chemistry (or apparent interest) with anybody.

There is a small bit of good action here and there--key phrase is "small bit." As far as sound goes...lots of movies have moving soundtracks, epic background music, creepy sound effects, and the like. This film is tracked primarily by the sound of wind.

Lastly, let's go with plot. A mute and one-eyed warrior (so originally dubbed 'One-Eye') frees himself and a young boy from their Norse slave-masters and links with a band of Viking crusaders to go fight in the Holy Land. After getting lost in a thick mist, they arrive on the shores of an unknown forested land. From there, they all seem to fall into madness while trying to figure out where they are and what to do. Several are killed by unseen natives; several more are killed by One-Eye when they try to kill him and the boy. At the end, One-Eye allows himself to be killed by the natives, thus leaving the boy alone on the shore. Throughout, One-Eye sees visions of different events that seem to come up later--usually in a mild spectrovision...Oh, and at the end, the boy seems able to read One-Eye's thoughts and gives them to the 1 or 2 survivors before they leave.

Was this a good movie? Only if you enjoy seeing people in costume walk around some very pretty scenery. Don't waste time on this.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

An artistic, violent, confusing and frustrating movie mainly for deep people.

Author: kristian35 from Bergen, Norway
29 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Are you one of those guys that often read between the lines when someone makes a deep statement or does something weird without any explanation? Do you like art? The wild? Silence? Violence? Mads Mickelsen?

No? Then this is probably not the movie for you. It starts out in the wild, somewhere north. Some vikings hold another viking prisoner and use him for fighting. The only turning point in the storyline is when the prisoner escapes. After this, you will probably find yourself waiting for something to happen, other than this viking (Mads Mickelsen) and a young boy, wandering around killing people or witnessing people getting killed. After a while they meet some crusaders who, of course, die one by one. Then, when they are all dead (including the viking warrior), the movie is finished.

There is very little dialogue while this happens, actually Mads Mickelsen doesn't utter a word during the entire movie. You will not see any parts of Valhalla, Odin, Thor or any of the gods from that mythology. There is no magic, interesting turn of events, great battles or clever/funny remarks and you will never find out what the viking is actually seeking.

On the other hand, if you like artistic or vague movies you might actually like the film. The movie is open to a lot of different interpretations, and by adding meaning to what is happening, I am sure you can make derive more meaning out of the things that happen. Maybe concluding that the movie illustrates very well the frustrating feeling of being lost, referring to both geographics and lost on a more personal level, for example by having no purpose, failing to see any meaning to life, not knowing where you are and certainly in the sense that you fear for your life.

The landscapes are showed in beautiful colors that really gives the movie the right atmosphere, and the filming and cutting of scenes are all OK.

But, my friend, the movie does require a lot of patience, and I don't really think that the director managed to tell a good story or bring through a message. Buy lots of popcorn, and only recommend to ex girlfriends who are not suicidal. This is not a movie for anybody, but sure, if I had the choice between watching this movie again and killing myself I would probably watch the movie.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Like a poem told not in words but pictures

Author: het2 from Prague, Czech Republic
28 September 2010

To be honest I do not know what I saw. What I know is that it was amazing experience. This movie raises a lot of questions yet it provides no answers just slight hints here and there. It has almost no story, almost no dialogs, but it offers IMAGES filmed to perfection. This is far from anyone's usual cinema, the difference is here like the difference between prose and poem and this is poem told not in words but in pictures. Yes, there is a lot of blood and gore, but there is also beauty (the land), innocence (the boy), hope for inner peace and/or redemption (not just for our hero). Nothing is explicitly told, what you find here (any message, any meaning) will be reflection of your own thoughts and your personal beliefs...

I am really happy that there are still people out there making movies like this one.

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15 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Bloody Awful and Confusing...

Author: vermiliongreenmustang from Australia
24 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was probably the worst waste of time in my life...and I play video games! My room-mate and I caught it on Netflix and thought, "Hey! this might be something worth watching!"

The first five minutes were pretty good...and then it went all to hell from there...It is 45 minutes of Vikings sitting in a boat, surrounded by mist, no music, no words... and then when they arrive at land they proceed to drink what must be Absinth because they all begin to FREAK OUT. which Culminates in one character getting raped, and the main character begins constructing what could only be thought of as a "save point"

All in all, total waste of time.

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15 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

I've seen this one before, and before and before

Author: jflibott from United States
5 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hey want to make a period piece on a shoestring budget? Here's what you do. Get a few guys together, no more than ten or so. Put them in costumes, be they from the middle ages, roman times, WWII, doesn't matter. Whatever you like.

Then have them walk around in the woods for 90 minutes, killing them off one by one.

I've seen this movie when it was called Centurion, Saints and Soldiers, and a dozen other films. Valhalla was especially painful because of the director's overly artistic point of view. He had little choice though. When forty minutes of the movie are spent on a ten foot long boat with only fog as scenery, might as well make it artsy.

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21 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Audiences Will Be Split

Author: Marjeez from United States
23 July 2010

Valhalla Rising came out of nowhere, the trailer looked promising and had a "300" vibe to it. It looked stylized but realistic, brutal and with a respectable story. A plethora of aspects were extremely disappointing. The first few minutes are an outstanding way to start off this film, but the fifty minutes after are extremely boring. I was tempted to leave. While I enjoy a nice story with brutal action, there isn't much of a story here. It's more about the mythology than the story., and you'll hope for something to occur as each pointless minute passes along until the credits start to roll. It is one that is open to interpretation but most people won't bother. It simply doesn't make sense, and it has that "House of 1000 Corpses" random picture factor that gives it an easy way to be called unique. "One Eye" was the only iconic character in this film, the rest have a 21st century feeling in the way they look and dress. The world was often too grim and dark to fully enjoy the scenery. The attention to detail is impressive but felt only known to the writers as Valhalla Rising failed to present what it wanted to towards the audience.

I do applaud the filmmakers for creating a respectable indie film with their limited resources. Its' best features are the voices/sound effects, the vibrant (almost pink) blood in the dark setting and the brutal (but limited) action sequences.

Simply put, I am extremely disappointed. In the end, if you're looking for a brutal film with an epic storyline, you won't find one here. If you want something unique to everything else out there, a film with an underlying deep meaning like no other film out there, you may find Valhalla Rising worth your time. Audiences will be split.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: tdrumm69 from United Kingdom
19 December 2015

Speechless, unfortunately I have to write at least ten lines and I don't think I can write so much about one of the worst sorry no the worst film I have ever wasted my time watching, it is without a doubt a total waste of time, I like action films ,even good stories but this is dire, some of the reviews talk about artistic and cinematic but I could go an hours drive to highlands and do better job with my I phone, look I don't claim to be a professional movie buff I am just someone who likes watching films if it's good I'll say so if crap or cheesy and so on, a couple of reviews said they watched it a couple of times SADISTS the lot of them,please stay away and save 90 minutes of your life or something more productive like watching paint dry by the way this is my first review on anything but this was so bad I feel I have to protect my fellow movie watchers from this.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

90 minutes of excruciating anguish

Author: Musy345 from United Kingdom
3 June 2015

I was looking forward to watching this film as it had one of my favourite actors in Mads Mikkelsen but boy was I wrong.

This film somehow made 90 mins feel like 4 hours. It was a great example of a director indulging in his artistic sense and yet the end result is a film which makes absolutely no sense to the audience. If this is what art is, I want to have nothing to do with it. Constant flashbacks for no apparent reason and images of brutality which made absolutely no sense was all I got in return for my 90 minutes.

There is very little dialogue and what dialogue there is is very poor as it has no context. There is no plot whatsoever and that is the film's poorest quality.

I love artistic films that make sense. I love films that are off the beaten path but that have something important to say; this was not it! The film was nihilistic to the core and yet I was not rewarded for trudging through the darkness this film made me endure.


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

As George Carlin once said. "It was a boring as watching flies f..k..."

Author: Lars Paulsen from Oslo, Norway
5 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sorry for such a short review, but If you only took the interesting scenes from this movie, inclusive the nature shots, it wouldn't even be five minutes long. five pictures would do. The lack of dialog takes care of that.

I'm sitting here after looking at this movie, feeling I just lost 1,5 hour of my life, so I might as well use another half an hour warning others.

Not sure how to describe my thoughts about the plot, as there really wasn't any. No real point in the story. It never comes... I do however understand the plot from the film makers point of view; Make a movie, put a well known actor in it and make some money.

Interestingly enough, there is a place in Norway called Hell. Not sure if that could be the place referred to in the movie. Anyway, watching this movie will make where ever you are, feel like Hell...

The wild plant life depicted in the movie, really looked nice, but if that's why you want to look at a movie, than maybe Discovery Channel could provide a less boring story to go with it.

Wouldn't recommend this movie to my worst enemy, even on a bad day.

PS: If you're one of those people who like to meet up on a Saturday night and dissect movies together, just forget what I said. This review is probably not for you.

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