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A mute, one-eyed warrior (Mads Mikkelsen) accompanies a group of Christian crusaders across the sea to the Promised Land — or is it Hell? — in Nicolas Winding Refn's heavy-metal Viking epic.
Shot back-to-back with Bronson, this hypnotic, Kubrick-quoting Viking epic reunited Winding Refn with his Pusher star Mads Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen plays a mysterious, mute warrior known only as One-Eye (for obvious reasons), who escapes from pit-fighting servitude with the help of a young slave boy after taking the time to neatly disembowel his captor with his bare hands. Wandering the harsh and forbidding landscape, One-Eye and the boy meet a group of Christians who compel them to join their crusade across the oceans to convert the pagan masses. After a long, arduous voyage across a fog-enshrouded and becalmed sea, the pilgrims finally reach foreign shores — but is this a Promised Land or a Hell? Cryptic, beautifully shot and creepily atmospheric, Valhalla Rising shows Winding Refn at his most instinctual, crafting a film that is less a conventional narrative than an immersive, purely sensory experience that perplexes and rewards in equal measure. "Feels like a Black Sabbath song come to visual life.... Electric guitars drone on the soundtrack, bones crunch, and a mystical religiosity gathers around One-Eye; there's a midnight cult here for those who yearn for one" (Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York).