The Viking Artist
One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen), having been held prisoner by chieftain Barde (Alexander Morton) for many years to provide entertainment as he fights various contenders manages to escape with the aid of a young boy. His escape leads him to a Viking longship which ends up becoming swamped in a mysterious thick fog which when it finally clears has led the longship to an unknown land where One-Eye must confront his demons.
If I had known then what I know now I would not have watched "Valhalla Rising", not because it is a bad movie as in fact it is a well made movie but because it is not my sort of movie. On paper it seemed to be with this story of Vikings and in particular one, a warrior by the name of One-Eye who is held at as entertainment for others, has premonitions style visions, escape, encounters a mysterious land and much more. But whilst the basic storyline seems like a typical sword and axe style action movie the final product, whilst graphic in its violent nature, isn't what I expected.
Now before watching "Valhalla Rising" I had only watched other movie by director Nicolas Winding Refn and that was "Drive" and I should have reminded myself of what I wrote about that movie as I said "What happens when you take a popular Hollywood actor, place him in what on paper looks like a typical Hollywood action movie but then have it made in an almost art house style". Whilst Mads Mikkelsen may not be Ryan Gosling what I said about "Drive" is the same for "Valhalla Rising" as on paper it looks typical but there is so much art house going on with the look and slow pacing that unless you are a fan of close up, half obscured faces it is hard bloody work. But even though it is hard bloody work I can appreciate the skill in the creating of this style and it is strangely beautiful, even the scenes of graphic violence
What this all boils down to is that "Valhalla Rising" ended up not for me because unfortunately director Nicolas Winding Refn's focus on style is not my sort of thing and it caused what could have been a typical but entertaining Viking movie to become a battle of endurance to stay with.