Outposters, welcome back to Film Club. This week, Valhalla Rising won and we’ve all been good little boys and watched it. Here are our reviews!
The film’s visual palette is undeniably striking, with breathtaking shots of rugged landscapes, misty forests, and moody skies. The color grading and cinematography create an immersive atmosphere. However, as the film unfolds, it becomes apparent that the heavy emphasis on visuals comes at the expense of an engaging story.
One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen), a mute warrior, escapes captivity and embarks on a mysterious journey with a group of Christian Vikings. I’ve never really thought of Mikkelsen as a great actor, he’s always just good enough. There are other good actors here too, their performances are mostly phoned in.
Valhalla Rising appears to strive for a deeper exploration of themes such as fate, spirituality, and human nature, but these ambitions are obscured by oblique storytelling and lack of narrative propulsion. As a result, what could’ve been a thought-provoking meditation on the human condition ends up feeling like a series of disjointed scenes.
This is the third movie by Nicolas Winding Refn that I’ve watched. This movie suffers the same as his other movies, style over substance.
Valhalla Rising is not an Immortan Joe prequel to Fury Road. Rather, it is an important film. It is not important in the great scheme of things. It is self-important. It is one of those movies that isn’t interesting or entertaining, so it is super-duper serious and vague to give the illusion of greatness. Throw in noble savages, Christian savages, artiness, unconventional plotting, and pointless brutality, and you’ve got yourself a critical darling. The buggery scene likely caused many nuanced conversations around the IPA cooler.
If this movie had Klaus Kinski in a conquistador helmet giving a monologue, it probably would have won a Palme d’Or Award. As it stands, it offers nothing but some nice photography and an ocean that somehow flows into a river. Its message is that there is no greater thing to aspire to than embracing death. For people who believe in nothing, nihilists sure do preach a lot. Their piss-ant philosophy makes me laugh. If Matrix was here, he’d laugh, too…
The first ten minutes showed gory, gruesome promise and then it just became a load of pretentious wank. Complete bollocks.
I thought I had seen all of Nicolas Winding Refn’s movies, but this one missed me for some reason. I went into it so cold, I didn’t even know it was him. I was glad to see it was him though since I love his work. He reminds me of Kubrick, very slow and methodical, but every frame is thought out and means something. I knew this movie would be like that from the opening credits. I do understand why some people don’t like it, but I think it’s amazing to see a director tell such an interesting story with little to no words. The world-building has to be done with the sets, photography, and the actors.
There are deeper themes in the movies by Winding Refn, this movie is about spirituality and belief. It’s about making the best of your life and if your number is up, do you just give up? It’s one of those movies I can’t help but think about it more and more. I would happily sit down and watch it again at some point, just to try and get a deeper meaning out of it. I know it’s not everyone’s cuppa, but I like something different that makes you work to appreciate it.
Film Club Week 6
So there you have it Outposters, another week completed for Film Club, and more mixed reviews. Make sure to let us know what you think of Valhalla Rising in the comments below. To get us back on schedule, let us know your suggestions for Film Club Week 6, and the very best make the list! I’ll upload the recommendations for you all to vote on tomorrow!
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