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Nicolas Winding Refn, the acclaimed director of BRONSON and THE PUSHER TRILOGY, strikes again with his bone–crushingly brutal Viking epic starring Mads Mikkelsen (CASINO ROYALE, FLAME & CITRON). This stylized knockout premiered to acclaim at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals and is destined to become a cult classic. An epic tale of war, vengeance and redemption, VALHALLA RISING is a provocative collision of art and action and an unmissable summer movie event. For years, One–Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner – forced to fight for his life and the amusement of his pagan slavers. Aided by a boy, he finds his moment, furiously kills his captors and together they escape, beginning an odyssey through an unknown land. After falling in with a band of Vikings, One–Eye and his young companion find they must confront terrible fate in the quest for their freedom.
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.Mike Hale, New York Times, 07.16.2010
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.Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, 07.14.2010
You sometimes wish Refn's gift for Ridley Scott-level mayhem had won the battle over his much iffier Werner Herzog leanings.Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 07.22.2010
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.Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, 07.15.2010