Valhalla Rising | Chicago Reader

Valhalla Rising

After the hard-charging Pusher trilogy and the crazed prison story Bronson, one expects big things from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, but this 2009 historical drama is a bleak, grimy fiasco. Set in the year 1000, it stars Mads Mikkelsen as a mute, one-eyed badass who's been held prisoner for years by a Norse chieftain; after escaping with a little slave boy in tow, he hooks up with some Christian crusaders, only to find them as cruel as the pagans he's left behind. Refn tries to turn his protagonist into a Christ figure at the climax, which might have worked better if the rest of the film weren't an endless slog of mud, blood, and graphic disembowelment. At 93 minutes, this is nasty, brutish, and not nearly short enough.



  • Nicolas Refn


  • Mads Mikkelsen
  • Gary Lewis
  • Jamie Sives
  • Ewan Stewart
  • Alexander Morton
  • Gary McCormack
  • Mathew Zajac
  • Robert Harrison
  • Stewart Porter
  • Gordon Brown
  • Callum Mitchell
  • Andrew Flanagan
  • Douglas Russell
  • Maarten Stevenson
  • Rony Bridges
  • James Ramsey


  • Christine Alderson
  • Lene Borglum
  • Yves Chevalier
  • Linda James

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