Valhalla Rising


Valhalla Rising

Critics Consensus

Visually gripping and anchored by a magnetic Mads Mikkelsen, Valhalla Rising delves into violence and faith in brutally uncompromising fashion.



Total Count: 56


Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,390
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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

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Critic Reviews for Valhalla Rising

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (17)

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

    Jul 29, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

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

    Jul 23, 2010 | Rating: 3/5
  • 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.

    Jul 22, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Like a John Milius film reduced to its pure, masculine essence and shot through one of Alejandro Jodorowsky's lens filters.

    Jul 22, 2010 | Rating: B

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top 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.

    Jul 16, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 16, 2010

Audience Reviews for Valhalla Rising

  • Sep 18, 2017
    In a world where violence is the only language people seem to understand Mads Mikkelsen plays a conversational virtuoso you don't want to talk to, sort of a Viking Mike Tyson. He finds himself with 3 different groups of neighbors and we get to see how he contends with all of them. Often the storyline stops so the director can indulge his own taste for poetry, only he has yet to embrace that 'brevity is the soul of wit', so we get long, long minutes of artsy poetry. You'll get many chances to get to the fridge to restock. Still, the overall effect stays with one.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2016
    Navel-gazing, patience testing nonsense
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 17, 2015
    Magnificent. Deeply violent, deeply moral. Brilliant action scenes. A superb performance by Mikkelsen, who produces an enduring, painful vulnerability at the core of a man who kills to survive. And he is a superlative killer. The photography and landscapes roll out in a series of masterpiece shots. For all of the brutality, it is a humanistic and touching film, with its share of humour. It also takes its own perspective on the Christian story, and it implies in a sympathetic way that Christ was not unlike this man. A classic, not to be missed.
    . . Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2014
    Nicolas Winding Refn brings his style and vision to the action genre set during the Viking age, and he helms it with such conviction and effective, brilliant atmosphere that you are sucked into an enthralling film going experience. What Refn crafts here is a well paced action drama that is one of the finest Viking films I've seen. Forget Pathfinder, this is the Viking film to watch. With a great cast, a terrific script, a strong visual style, Nicolas Winding Refn crafts a stunning picture that is sure to entertain anyone looking for a well constructed period piece. I've always been interested in Vikings, personally I think they're awesome, and with this film, although not accurate of course is still a good piece of entertainment for viewers that are interested Vikings. To have a director like Nicolas Winding Refn to helm the project is quite interesting because he always bring a unique touch, atmosphere and memorable quality to really make the movie standout. The Story is engaging and the cast are terrific, and we have some familiar names that have collaborated with Winding Refn in the past. Valhalla Rising mixes action and drama perfectly well into one movie. Aside from the Pusher trilogy and Bronson, I would say that this one of my favorite outings of Winding Refn. He really brings a certain style of brooding atmosphere to really make the film standout among others. Brilliant, well crafted and near perfect, if you enjoy Nicolas Winding Refn's work, Valhalla Rising a must watch that is highly engrossing start to finish. Aside from the direction, story and acting, the film is very atmospheric as well, which only amplifies the feel and look of the movie significantly. Forget Pathfinder which is a bland, mediocre movie, you want to watch this film instead as the story and overall tone of the film is far more dramatic in scope that it makes it a real treat for film fans.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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