Ireland: Vikings pillage the land, seeking silver and slaves, slaying men and women in the process. A young boy is spared when a Viking takes pity on him instead of killing him. Iceland 20 years later: The boy returns to take his revenge on the killers, the Norwegian foster brothers; Thord and Eirik, by cunning and hidden weapons. —Stle A. Olsen <email@example.com>
Television not Cinema
I am confused by the magnanimous praise for this film. First of all, let me respect it for its unsensational style. It expressed the everyday unromantic experience of what it must have been like then. In this way, it avoided Hollywoodism, but when I consider how the film-makers could have incorporated vast vistas as a cinematic expression of the isolation of these communities I was dismayed. These people lived in immense isolation, but all we were given 90 percent of the time were tight shots, and landscapes were generally presented as one section of the pebbly beach with some stark rocky islands off shore. And let us consider the opening (of the version I saw). There was no attempt at establishing the historical context. Instead, we got close shots that could have been anywhere, and certainly shot in the style for 'straight to video". Come on! The script was clever, with the potential for a great dramatic experience, but the director must have been limited by a highly restrictive budget, because it ended up looking like 'made for TV'. The synthesized music was occasionally effective but surely deeper chords would have created an ominous atmosphere. The hero did not really have any tense challenges. He seemed to cruise through it all. While I sort of liked him, I never had a sense of his jeopardy. In short, there was no dramatic tension. In this sense, there was an echo of some of Clint Eastwood's movies, but without the stylishness. There was an assumption that we were on the protagonist's side, but why deprive us of his human vulnerability as he seeks revenge? I feel that the writers deserve a bigger budget to prove to us that they can create a truly cinematic experience rather than a small dimension TV drama. I have not seen the subsequent 2 parts of the trilogy.
- Jul 11, 2007
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