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Valhalla Rising (2009)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 17,059

My Rating

Movie Info

For years, the fearsome figure known only as One Eye (Mads Mikkelsen - PUSHER, FLAME & CITRON, CASINO ROYALE) has defeated everyone he's encountered, but he's treated more like an animal than a warrior. The only person he has any relationship with is the young boy who brings him food and water daily. Constantly caged and shackled, One Eye has drawn the attention of a new force now sweeping the countryside and displacing the society's leaders: Christians.-- (C) IFC Films


Action & Adventure

Nov 30, 2010


IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (55) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (16)

It's a chilly, often slow, uncompromisingly harsh film, but Refn's images will sear your retinas.

November 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If only the pieces added up to an experience that sticks and that didn't finally succumb to a shrug of entropy.

July 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You sometimes wish Refn's gift for Ridley Scott-level mayhem had won the battle over his much iffier Werner Herzog leanings.

July 23, 2010
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a trip into a primordial world and primeval sensibilities, and if you're looking to shake off the mall-movie blahs, there are few better places to look.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal | Comments (2)
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comments (3)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mikkelsen verifies that, even without saying a word, he's an unnervingly unhinged presence.

May 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Filled with brutality.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (2)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A mad meditation on the primeval nature of man, faith and survival, this is Apocalypse Then, and then some.

December 22, 2010 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

Directed in moody and portentous strokes by Nicolas Winding Refn, this is the most abstract Viking movie you'll ever see...

December 3, 2010 Full Review Source:

Less Braveheart than Aguirre, The Wrath of God, this evocative Viking tone poem contemplates the convergence between violence and religion.

December 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A Nordic odyssey straight down to Jerusalem

September 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

I appreciate Refn for pushing against conventions of rhythm, photography, subject, color, and form, and I don't mind that Valhalla Rising lacks a story so much as I question its reliance on enigmatic hints of some grand, over-arching abstraction.

September 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

It's like a gorgeous graphic novel with a protagonist and story that vanish utterly from the mind as soon as the last page is turned.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Aguirre as conceptualized by Jim Jarmusch and executed by Terrence Malick.

August 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central | Comment (1)
Film Freak Central

This is Aguirre, the Wrath of God, with the despondency jacked to 11.

July 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix | Comments (3)
Boston Phoenix

For an ugly, brutish, überviolent Viking epic, Valhalla Rising is gorgeous, each frame a haunting work of art. Refn's style, though, is unsustainable at feature length.

July 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Moving Pictures Magazine
Moving Pictures Magazine

In the mood for a slower-than-molasses viking movie inspired by spaghetti westerns and samurai swordplay epics. Have we got the flick for YOU!

July 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Back Stage | Comments (8)
Back Stage

so formless and arbitrary in meaning that it all borders on pretentiousness

July 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer | Comments (9)
Cinema Writer

a viking-adventure-cum-acid-trip

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source:

Like a John Milius film reduced to its pure, masculine essence and shot through one of Alejandro Jodorowsky's lens filters.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

The visual beauty is exceeded only by the gruesomeness of some of the violence...

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Brand X
Brand X

Audience Reviews for Valhalla Rising

pretentious [pr??t?n??s]
1. making claim to distinction or importance, esp undeservedly
2. having or creating a deceptive outer appearance of great worth; ostentatious

So, still think Valhalla is pretentious? I don't think Nicolas Winding Refn makes claim that the film is important nor do I think just because it looks good you can accuse him of creating a deceptive outer appearance of great worth. I suspect that the truth is, that anyone who suggests that this film is pretentious doesn't actually know the meaning of the word and only use it when they know something is of a high quality but they don't understand it or are embarrassed to say 'This is a little bit too high-brow and clever for me'. Damn it, now you're making me sound pretentious!

Valhalla Rising is a bleak but spellbinding story, it's true not much seems to happen but personally that just makes it easier to watch no? I was captivated throughout, thanks to the beautiful scenery, the brilliant acting, the terrifying Mads Mikkelsen and the edge of the seat tension. It's a bit of a masterpiece I think. Nicolas Winding Refn has talent, you can see that in his previous films and those he's made since. This isn't pretension, this is the work of one of the best film makers working today!
June 18, 2013

Super Reviewer

Coming from a talented filmmaker who seems to place his own personal gratification ahead of the audience's, Nicolas Winding Refn's "Valhalla Rising" is a strange, albeit curious film. Lacking much in the way of traditional story-telling, "Rising" seems to prefer juxtaposing glimpses of visceral, uncompromising violence against some rather beautifully captured scenery. An eerie, atmospheric experience.
November 6, 2012
Kristijonas Fussman

Super Reviewer


"Valhalla Rising" is one of those increasingly slow films that has a weird way of getting underneath your skin without testing your patience. Regardless of it's incredibly slow pacing it has an extraordinary grip on you, and there are very few films that can do that whilst feeling the need to really take their time. But a film can only do that for so long, and although I adore films with substance this really has trouble getting across it's message without staggering and fails to unfold it comprehensibly. It has it's upsides, I particularly enjoyed Nicolas Winding Refyn's mesmeric direction and the atmospheric cinematography beautifully shot by Morten Søborg but even though it manages to look visually stunning and powerfully acted the story fails to revel in it's simplicity and tries far too hard to be something profound. It could have been a fantastically thought provoking art house movie if it didn't try to shove so many metaphors down your throat. Consequently it just feels self important and you end up admiring the visuals alone. That said I will commend Refyn's style and his scriptwriting but overall it's far too narratively flimsy to be something great. Which is something that it could have potentially been. I enjoyed it because it provokes great intrigue and captures some fine mountain landscapes in a way many action-fantasy films have failed to do, even though it isn't one of them. I can't honestly say there's much going on underneath the surface and the muddled up poetry that's supposedly at work, but strangely, it can prove to be quite entertaining if your a fan of movies that try to deal with issues that regard both redemption and religious beliefs in dark, peculiar ways. However, it doesn't hang together the way that it should. There is stuff in there, it's just the overly puzzling matter of finding it.
November 6, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Nicolas Winding Refn is a powerful director and 'Valhalla Rising' is further proof of that, but the film contains elements that may alienate its audience. Some of the film is very confusing and contains many questions that are left unanswered. 'Valhalla Rising' might prove to be an instance of style over substance. Refn's signature style is still here to marvel at in aesthetic terms, but not much else. At the film's core, Mads Mikkelson does a great job in the wordless role and really carries the weight of the film. Refn's adoration for blood and violence is also present, and is actually one of the few redeemable, entertaining values the filmhas to offer. If you can't stand any Art
House film with aesthetics on its mind, then stay away. Other than that, its worth a look at a talented director and beautiful cinematography, with a cool central role from
the protagonist.
July 1, 2012
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

    1. Hagen: He's brought us to hell and there is no God.
    – Submitted by Frances H (2 months ago)
    1. The Boy: You need a name, and you've only got one eye.
    – Submitted by First L (2 years ago)
    1. Barde: They eat their own god, eat his flesh, drink his blood, abominable.
    – Submitted by Tahlia O (2 years ago)
    1. Eirik: God brought us out of that mist for a reason. We claim this land in His name.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Kare: I am going to show them that a man of God has arrived.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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