Valhalla Rising Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
I appreciate Refn for pushing against conventions of rhythm, photography, subject, color, and form, and I don't mind that Valhalla Rising lacks a story so much as I question its reliance on enigmatic hints of some grand, over-arching abstraction.