From Ain't it Cool News
*Spoilers* of course, the art of review is dead
directed by - Nicolas Winding Refn
The short version:
A great opening chapter, which I’d recommend to anyone as an awesome kick-ass short film. Then... a lot more movie without a whole lot going on.
The long version:
Wow, does this movie ever promise a lot with its opening chapter. I suspect many readers will LOVE the opening. And really, I didn’t hate the rest of it - not at all. There was a lot to interest there, and I know that many people will probably really enjoy the film as a whole, but it is certainly not for everyone. If you don’t have plenty of patience, I would bet you will find this movie to be an infuriating experience.
How can you decide which side you will fall on? Have you ever seen a Tarkovsky film? Did you enjoy the experience? If so, you will probably enjoy the remainder of this film. If you fell on the clawing-your-eyes-out-wishing-something-would-just-happen-already side of the divide... Maybe not so much.
Somewhere in Scotland, One-Eye has been captured and caged. He is handled extremely carefully by his captors, who bring him out as their gladiator-of-choice in vicious to-the-death matches. He defeats everyone handily, but can they keep him prisoner forever? Not fucking likely!
This is the fun and kick-ass chapter of the film. It was so awesome that a couple folks of weaker constitution had to leave. “Screw them!” we said. “More kickassery for the rest of us!” But it was not to be. That was pretty much the end. Maybe the deserters somehow realized this?
Anyway, after this sequence, One-Eye finds himself enlisted by crusaders, on his way to the Holy Land to liberate Jerusalem for Christianity. They travel a long way, but they end up... someplace else.
And it IS an interesting film, if somewhat of a bait-and-switch. It’s kind of an endurance test for the audience, but I suspect the promise of more of the opening held many in place who otherwise would’ve hit the road.
In the end, tragically, I had to leave - I KNOW! And after sitting through Warrior and the Wolf and everything! Well, the thing is, I had left a ridiculously short amount of time between this and the next film, and a check of my watch revealed the movie had already run longer than I was anticipating anyways.
So, unfortunately, this review is an incomplete one. I missed the very end. For all I know, it was a return to the awesomeness of the opening (if anyone caught it, please let us all know in the talkbacks) If this movie had switched places on my schedule with Warrior and the Wolf, I’d’ve left happily, and easily, and much much sooner.
As it was, by the time I got myself to the Ryerson, the line had already gone in, and there were VERY few seats. (TEN rows of reserved seats didn’t help (yes, TEN! That’s a huge percentage of the theatre)).
Anyway, Valhalla Rising is an interesting film, but definitely not for everyone. If you are short on patience, you should probably avoid it.