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This review is from: Valhalla Rising [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A rather beguiling film in that it looks interesting and has an interesting premise but ultimately is hollow and feels rather indulgent on the directors part.
It looks good but unfortunately that is all it really has going for it. There are long periods of quiet where nothing happens at all. In most cases you would expect this to be a time of reflection or some sort of character building. With Valhalla Rising it is just pure dullness.
Winding Refn's CV has such a spotted success rate it is hard to tell if he is actually a modern genius or just a talent which needs to learn some restraint. The story is weak and plodding and none of this is helped by having a lead character who is mute. Not a word is uttered from "one eye's" mouth. He barely registers as being there at all. It is a waste of Mads Mikkleson, who normally is able to convey a brooding menace in these sort of roles. Here he just looks as bored as the audience.
Not a single character has any real depth. No one makes any impact. The story is confused at best and when it looks like something is going to happen, it doesn't.
Even the ending promises more than it actually delivers, which pretty much sums up the film. A disappointment from a director who periodically shows real flair.