Valhalla Rising

As a boy, I loved violent Viking tales, a sub-genre quite popular in the 1950s and 1960s—Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster made some of the best. Hollywood doesn't make them anymore, and so we have "Valhalla Rising, directed and co-scripted (with Roy Jacobsen) by the gifted Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, who made a strong impression with his "Pusher" trilogy.

World-premiering at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, and later playing at Toronto Film Fest, a year later, Valhalla Rising:" opens theatrically in limited cities. The movie is also available on cable via Video on Demand.
 
Set in Scotland, 1000 AD, the sporadically engaging epic tale depicts a changing world, one torn between the brutality of the past and the civility of the future.  A mute Scandinavian savage, known only as One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen), is kept as an animal and only brought out of his cage by his owner to fight for money. 
 
Aided by Are, a boy slave, One-Eye slays his captor and together the duo begins a long journey home.  En route, they team up with a band of Viking Christian warriors who have set their sites on conquering Jerusalem.  Their ship, however, is soon engulfed by a seemingly endless fog.  When it finally clears, they find themselves lost in an unknown land.  As the new world reveals its secrets and the Vikings confront their terrible and bloody fate, One Eye embarks on a journey of a much darker nature.
 
Following the breakout success of the "Pusher" trilogy and "Bronson," director Nicolas Winding Refn continues his examination of the dark nature of man. 
 
The feature boasts some intriguing visuals—watch the scene in which One-Eye gets one of his visions, with the screen turning to the color of blood.
 
It's probably a coincidence that the talented Danish actor Mikkelsen also had an eye problem in the James Bond picture he made.
 
"Valhalla" reaffirms Refn's status as a distinctive voice and talent to watch in world cinema.
 
Credits
 
Running time: 90 minutes
Language:  English
Rating: Unrated