Back to top
Scandi Screams

Valhalla Rising

Valhalla Rising
2009 | 93 min | Historical Drama, Fantasy | Denmark | Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Alexander Morton, Gary Lewis | Language: Danish, English with English subtitles

Nicolas Winding Refn, known for his distinct visual style, creates a haunting and meditative atmosphere in this stylish and subversive Viking epic, incorporating elements of surrealism and abstract symbolism. The narrative is open to interpretation, leaving room for viewers to engage with the film on a more philosophical level.

Set in the early 11th century, Valhalla Rising follows the story of One-Eye, a mute Norse warrior held captive as a gladiator. One-Eye possesses extraordinary combat skills and is often forced to fight for his survival. Alongside him is a young boy who acts as his companion and guide. Driven by a desire for freedom, One-Eye escapes with the boy and embarks on a treacherous journey across a desolate and unforgiving landscape.

Divided into chapters, each representing a different phase of One-Eye's journey and exploring themes of destiny, spirituality, and the brutality of mankind, the film showcases Refn's unique approach to storytelling and Mads Mikkelsen's captivating performance as the enigmatic One-Eye, reminding us of a valuable life lesson, “Don’t Make Mads Mad”!

This is vintage Refn, and fans of epic fantasies and sword and axe battles will be delighted.
Venice Film Festival 2009
Toronto International Film Festival 2009
Göteborg Film Festival 2010