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Valhalla Rising

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Denmark, United Kingdom · 2009
1h 33m
Director Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Gary Lewis, Jamie Sives, Ewan Stewart
Genre Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

In 11th-century Scandinavia, an enslaved man dubbed One Eye stages a violent uprising against those who imprisoned him. Headed for Jerusalem on a ship, One Eye must cope with crew infighting and attacks from the coastline. However, the journey's challenges are only a harbinger of even greater brutality.

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What are critics saying?


Village Voice by

Frequently dull and stupidly obvious, you nonetheless have to applaud the misguided ambition of Refn's career turn. If nothing else, as the metal guitars get louder and louder, the synergy between Viking imagery and the pagan-obsessed metal freaks it spawned has never been clearer.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

Lots of movies about the Middle Ages can do the mud and blood -- though we sure see a lot of both here -- but in this movie it's like Refn has ripped you out of time and dropped you there.


Variety by Derek Elley

With very little dialogue, and even less plot, five chapter stops lend the movie a skeletal structure: "Wrath," "Silent Warrior," "Men of God," "The Holy Land" and "Hell." But any discussion of the Dark Ages conflict between paganism and Christianity is reduced to just grunts or insults.


Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

Director Nicolas Winding Refn, the prankster of last year's "Bronson," has never reduced his craft to such a sledgehammer of minimalism. Electric guitars drone on the soundtrack, bones crunch, and a mystical religiosity gathers around One-Eye; there's a midnight cult here for those who yearn for one.


Empire by Kim Newman

Valhalla Rising gets into your mind and stays there. You can argue what, if anything, it's trying to say, but it is impressive cinema.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

When it comes to crazy, violent, semidelirious, testosterone-laden, proto-Viking tales about a mute visionary one-eyed warrior who breaks skulls, Valhalla Rising is pretty great.


The New York Times by Mike Hale

Mr. Refn, who can pull off stylish brutality (in the "Pusher" films and "Bronson" ), shows no knack for the kind of visionary, hallucinatory image making that would render Valhalla Rising memorable.


Observer by Rex Reed

Valhalla Rising is nothing more than an updated version of the kind of time-honored Hollywood Viking movie Kirk Douglas used to do in his sleep, which means lots of inhuman, bone-crunching violence and no plot.

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