Valhalla Rising

Mads Mikkelsen (the bleeding-eyed Le Chiffre from Casino Royale) plays One-Eye, a mute and half-blind escaped Viking slave from some unidentified Nordic outpost who, along with his towheaded child interpreter, hops a ship bound for the Holy Land to rescue Jerusalem from the infidels but doesn't quite make it. This is t...he premise of Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising, a curious episodic film that's more a collection of striking tableaux than an actual motion picture, IMO. The script contains little actual dialogue, mostly burly unwashed men (they're Vikings but they sound like they're from the Scottish Highlands) sitting in a longboat or on a boggy shore essentially waiting to die. That is to say, the film is beautifully shot (despite the bloodletting) and even though it makes motions toward heavier philosophical questions about the divine and the sacred it doesn't offer much to think about.

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