I've been excited about VALHALLA RISING for some time. Today, a friend pointed me in the direction of a trailer/review. The new film by Nicolas Winding Refn (PUSHER, BRONSON) played at ActionFest along with CENTURION (see earlier post) and received a one very positive review that I've seen. The story follows a mute warrior, One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen), as he travels on a viking vessel to a dangerous new world.
The review I saw of the film on Twitchfilm.com points out a couple interesting things about the film. One, Mads Mikkelsen, by far the film's biggest and most international star, plays a mute and apparently he holds true to that, not muttering a word or a sound, not even when he's destroying people. To me, this sounds awesome, but it is risky, subduing the star like that, but I anticipate interesting results. Kudos to Refn for taking the risk. The second interesting observation made by the reviewer is that Refn's style is similar to that of Terrence Malick, legendary director of BADLANDS, DAYS OF HEAVEN and THE NEW WORLD. If this is even remotely true, then VALHALLA RISING must be quite impressive visually. Malick is notorious for taking painstaking measures to get a perfect shot. I can't judge RISING's visuals as a whole, having not seen the film yet, but the trailer does hint at a some very calculated shots.
However, though this might be a plus for the reviewer at Twitchfilm, it doesn't seem to be pleasing everyone. Lots of fan reviews I've found at IMDB complain that the film lacks extensive plotting and is, to them, "slow" or "boring". I don't give these criticisms too much credence as average film viewers lack attention spans and artistic appreciation. To me, these complaints only further the evidence that this film belongs in a vein similar to Malick's work, which is very exciting. No matter how this film turns out, I'm fairly certain I'm in for something interesting.
A release date for this film is a mystery. There is a June release date listed at IMDB, but I can only assume that will be a limited release. I hope it comes to my town or DVD quite soon as I've been waiting for some time.