Sunday, July 11, 2010

Valhalla Rising

Nicolas Winding Refn's “Valhalla Rising” is ostensibly about a one-eyed, mute Scandinavian gladiator who, after slaying the owner that's enslaved him like a battered pit bull, joins a bunch of Viking Christian zealots on their way to take over Jerusalem. But, in fact, this Bruckheimer-style storyline is merely an excuse to film a Joseph Conrad-worthy existential journey to hell. It's an intriguing artistic choice from the director best known for the narrative-driven “Pusher” trilogy and the borderline avant-garde “Bronson.” Now with “Valhalla Rising” it seems Refn has pared his vision down to its atmospheric essence, creating another universe that is closer in spirit to Kubrick's futuristic “2001: A Space Odyssey” than it is to any ancient Biblical blockbuster.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

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