“The whole movie was almost thought of as, ‘God, wouldn’t it be great to do one of those movies that you would show in the ’70’s at midnight?’ You know, a drug film, not where you take drugs and watch the movie, but where the movie becomes the drug.”
This is how director Nicolas Winding Refn described the conception of his 2009 film Valhalla Rising. Telling the story of a mute Viking warrior named One Eye, Valhalla Rising is a brutal and poetic film that left me thinking for days after I watched it. I considered what I had just experienced, the violence, the peaceful shots of the beautiful landscape, the religious aspects, and I was left feeling fulfilled. That’s not something I would normally say after watching a movie. Typically, I use descriptives like “awesome” and “visually stunning” and (if I’m being honest about my overuse of superlatives) “one of the best movies I’ve recently seen”. And while I have been fulfilled by a film before (I think that’s one thing good art is supposed to do on some level), I can’t remember the last time I finished a movie and my initial reaction was one of fulfillment. It was pretty great.