Tuesday, August 3, 2010

'Valhalla Rising': vicious Viking tale

“Valhalla Rising”

Three stars

By Gary Buiso

Life is brutish, short and foretold in “Valhalla Rising,” a Viking saga that is as intimate as it is vicious.

After he escapes from his captors, a mute, visionary one-eyed pagan warrior named One Eye (Mads Mikkelsen), along with his ward, a young boy (Maarten Stevenson), wind up with a group of Christian Vikings intent on claiming the Holy Land.

The crusaders’ long boat gets lost in a still sea covered in a blanket of mist, and the group finds itself in the New World, where primitive arrows begin to winnow their numbers and jeopardize their mission.

Talented Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (“Bronson”) tells the brooding tale in chapters, with names like “Hell” and “The Sacrifice” punctuating the minimalist story with One Eye’s red-soaked visions of a bleak future.

Stylish, gory and beautiful, “Valhalla Rising” is an art-house western set in 1000 AD.

“Valhalla Rising.” Unrated. Sequences of action, violence, nudity and gore. 93 minutes. With Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Gordon Brown, Andrew Flanagan, Gary McCormack and Gary Lewis.


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