valhalla rising


I haven’t felt the urge to post about movies recently. A lot of that comes from the lack of good movies, ones that might get me excited enough to spend a few minutes and collect my thoughts so this blog doesn’t turn into illegible techie gibberish. Here is one that I sort of liked though.

Here is the thing, when commit an entry on this blog about a movie, there are two things that I think about:

  1. I want people to share my excitement and see this movie

  2. I don’t want to spoil anything

What I’ve come to realize over the years, talking with people about movies, is that I’m WAAAAAY off the spectrum of what normal people consider “good”. Most of the movies I’ve blogged about here are from a different country, and might be considered “art house”. The combination of these two elements quickly eliminates said movie from someones list. That is OKAY, and I’m not going to act even more pretentious because I watch different movies than you, and keeping that in mind I’m going to write a little more content about the movies I watch because you may not want to see them anyway :)

I saw an image of this movie over a year ago, and the image was essentially what you see in the poster above,  of the main character “One-Eye” looking poised and ready to kill/mame/fight. My expectations were immediatly set, and they were high.

Fast forward to the other night, when I finally get to see the full featured film behind that one image, and my impression is mixed. It is stunning visually, and is reeks of something you would watch in school. It comes off more allegorical than your typical monomyth story. Its downfall is those very two points, I was really looking forward to a near mindless action flick with a good setting and an interesting main character.

Valhalla Rising starts its first chapter (yes, the movie is broken up into 6 parts, or chapters) in a Scotland, it is cold and brutal. One-Eye is a slave, forced to fight. Though “forced” might be the wrong term here, because while he eventually kills his captors, he seems content with playing by the rules. He sits quietly in his cage, and after a fight, he promptly presents his wrists so he may be cuffed again. He is also incredibly vicious when fighting, and his owners have to tie him by the neck to a post. With his missing eye, and his unnervingly proficient fighting skills he may actually be a representation Odin, and the film makes a few allusions to his mysterious origins.

One-Eye dreams of events that will happen to him. His first dream is of him finding an arrowhead in a river he is allowed to rinse off in. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of epiphany that accompanies these visions, he seems to just accept them and follow them through, much like his gladiator-esque fights. With this Arrowhead, he escapes and kills everyone save the small boy who tended to him.

The boy, now without any support, decides to follow One-Eye. They come across a group of fervent Crusaders, who immediately ask the two if they are tribesmen or good god-fearing Christians… As the boy gazes at the smouldering pile of bodies, he wisely says “Christians”. After some posturing and a bit of a sales pitch by the Crusaders, One-Eye and the child go with the Crusaders to Jerusalem to fight for the Holy Land.

They never reach Jerusalem, but instead, the America’s (Canada perhaps). Shipwrecked, isolated, and starved, the crew starts to degenerate and turn on One-Eye and the Boy. Then there is the indigenous Native Americans, who the Chief Crusader is intent on conquering for God after some of the crew are slain. One-Eye has another vision, and this time it is of their death. Just as before, he acts the vision out even though he knows the final outcome.

Even though I was expecting something between Casino Royal and Gladiator (Hey, One-Eye was the bad guy in CR, I was hoping for a similar pace m0vie), and I got what would have been an English assignment, I’m still thinking about the movie and it’s themes.