Movie Fifty Four
I really struggled to like Valhalla Rising and, truth be told, there is a lot to like. However, the idea seems to be far stronger than the execution.
Valhalla Rising is from Nicolas Winding Refn, director of a favorite of mine, Drive. I had high hopes for the film as a result, but the similarities between them are few. They both share strong, silent, unnamed protagonists and feature very little dialog in general but have strong driving soundtracks. The colors are vivid and the surrounding landscapes feel very alive. Oh, and they are both also intensely violent at times.
One key difference in Valhalla Rising are the ‘acid flashback’ scenes which are fairly numerous. This caused some confusion for me as far as the narrative is concerned as well.
The plot follows a prisoner (Mads Mikkelsen) than is very adept at fighting and killing and he is forced into this for sport. He breaks away from his captors and kills them all except for a young boy, whom he befriends. Together the two travel and meet up with a group of Christians. They then travel…Somewhere…But end up in a dense fog and believe to be cursed. They arrive in an unknown land that ends up being North America.
Apparently the idea for the film is based around a viking runestone Refn saw while in Delaware and frankly, that makes for an excellent idea for a movie. Valhalla Rising simply doesn’t deliver on that premise. It’s confusing, jumbled, trippy (not in a good way), and fairly directionless. Still, I didn’t hate it, I was just left disappointed.
I give it 3 viking acid trips out of 5.