Release Date: July 16, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Watching Valhalla Rising requires an incredible amount of patience and mental stamina. Telling the story of a man named One-Eye, a mute warrior with tremendous strength, who escapes his captors only to journey on a quest into unknown lands, with practically no dialogue the entire experience depends on finding meaning and substance in the visuals. As much as the cinematography is beautifully done, the editing bordering on the avante garde, and the sound evoking emotion at particular moments nothing can save the film from being what it essentially is, boring. It is far too introspective and allegorical for the casual viewer. One must be prepared to delve deeper into the cinematic experience and even still find disappointment. The toying with modern conventions to make a film outside of the norm where any sort of box you may wish to put it in it will fail to fit is commendable. This makes it even more of an unfortunate circumstance that the film does not succeed. It takes more from you in terms of trying to understand exactly what is going on and what the plot is that you forget you are watching a movie. The alienation is constant and builds as the film continues on. The pieces eventually come together but the disdain you feel by then is irreparable.
The film itself is shot like an operatic poem. It is quiet yet forceful, slow, and shaded in mystery and metaphor. The use of red continually in dreamesque sequences marking the anger of the silent warrior that is One Eye. Sweeping landscape shots collide with close-ups of characters who remain enigmatic as they never speak or speak in verses you must discover the meaning behind. The shots of the fog drifting over the ocean, a bad omen for the traveling ship, hints at the danger and soon to be found redemption. The cinematography ends up revealing more about the story and One Eye’s nature than any other element in the entire film. Your eyes are constantly aware of all that is occurring, in the slowest moments and when the action picks up and blood splatters. The strong usage of the visual through cinematography makes way for a host of analysis. It is the only thing binding you to the story and on its own makes for an inviting journey into what cinematography can show, without the need for dialogue to tell, a viewer.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Nicolas Winding RefnHenrik Danstrup
- Producer(s): Nicolas Winding RefnRoy Jacobsen
- Screenwriter(s): Mads Mikkelsen (One Eye)Maarten Stevenson (The Boy)Gordon Brown (Hagen)
- Story: Andrew Flanagan (Gudmond)
- Cast: Gary Lewis (Kare) Mat NewmanMorten Soborg
- Cinematographer: Peter-Peter
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: