Tag Archives: unforgettable experience

Valhalla Rising: Silence Galore

Silence is not the immediate reaction I had to this movie. I was in shock and awe by the brilliant landscapes and brutal style of the film, but not silenced because of some distaste for this movie. You have to be silent in order to soak this movie in. It’s not often that a movie deals entirely with the image presented in order to tell a story. This movie, in a phrase, is old school. This may as well be a badass silent action film. That’s exactly what I took away from it.

And this is all Nicolas Winding Refn’s intent. After having seen (and reviewed) his other

Does this actor never have a left eye?

film, Drive, I don’t think I can get enough of what this Danish director is bringing to the table. With an archaic and visceral feel to this movie, it plays out in a slow manner, but many of the scenes will stand out to you in your mind way after its all been played out. Same thing goes for Drive too.

If I had to guess how many pages the dialogue took up in this film, I’d probably say a total of 5-6 pages. And that’s all it took to portray the characters onscreen. You know One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) is a hardass who never found his voice and expresses himself

The brutality of the Danish.

in violent outbursts. You even have a young child actor, named The Boy (Maarten Stevenson) who understands the idea of dramatic timing and delivery in this film. And that’s rare in such a adult themed film. Saying less gives so much more, and that’s what this film knew how to do.

Basic plot, everyone?

So, One-Eye (Mikkelsen) is a slave held in Scotland against his will. He is passed from barbaric tribe to barbaric tribe in order to fight and kill for the honor of the tribe that owns him. He is such a good fighter, that he has to be leashed up in order to set him at the same level as other fighters. Sleeping in a cage all night with little food or contact with others, he befriends The Boy (Stevenson), who shows him the only kindness he’ll ever know.

Upon being switched between tribes, One-Eye uses the almost-prophetic visions in red he receives at the beginning of

Refn and the gang!

the film in order to kill and escape. Kidnapping The Boy, he heads off for freedom. But not before he encounters a roving band of Crusaders looking and itching for a Crusade to wage. With One-Eye and The Boy in tow, the Christians take them on a boat ride to Hell, and eventually the new world.

As I said earlier, the locales are what impressed me most about this movie. Being shot in Scotland, I had little basis for what it actually looked like in a real context, and so this movie works on all levels for Scotland and America. The absence of human life really works well to isolate the feeling of the film, heightening the chances of death and lack of social norms in a clearly barbaric society. No one is safe in this

It doesn’t get more unsettling than this.

film, and it almost makes you feel uncomfortable when people turn on each other for survival.

Mikkelsen, that one-eyed badass from Casino Royale, is just as good in this movie as well. The cast is relatively unknown to me, which really works for this movie. Because who would be recognizable way back in 1000 A.D.? I just wanna give a lot of credit to the special effects and

Picturesque.

make-up people as well in this movie, because I’ve never seen a more realistic head bashing than in this movie. Visually brutal to the point where your eyes bleed. Hardcore shizz.

The overall delivery was right up my alley. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for an artistically brutal and human psyche revealing film. It’ll make people uncomfortable, but it’ll be an unforgettable experience in the end. No real complaints, 8.9 out of 10.

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An Idiot Abroad Series 1

… Or as Karl Pilkington would’ve liked to call it, “Karl Pilkington and the Seven Wonders”. Either way, executive producers Ricky Gervais (star and creator of UK’s The Office) and Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office), along with Sky1 programming, made this an experience that Karl would never forget. In 7 episodes (and a hindsight 8th episode), Karl Pilkington visits the seven wonders of the ancient world. What happens in the meanwhile makes all the comedy.

I love Ricky Gervais’s idea for this show. He calls it “the most expensive prank on national television”. He wants to throw Karl out of his comfort zone and make him do

This… is Karl Pilkington.

terribly uncomfortable and wacky things he would never do. If Karl brings something up (like rather living in a cave than in a nice house so he can see the nice house) they do that. His sometimes backwards and small minded opinions on the world come out constantly and he must deal with those consequences.

Unimpressed.

That’s what I loved about this travel documentary. Karl is constantly talking. (He says he hates noise, but a lot of it is coming from him.) He complains, in a very comedic way, although he may not know it, and has this constant set of stand up comedian like scenarios and jokes when he talks about native cultures. He won’t try any foods (sensitive gag reflex, he says) and his three favorite phrases are:

1. I’m completely knackered.

2. This is doing me head in.

3. Insert ethnically racial stereotype here.

A little bit jealous of the Shaolin Wushu…

He is unabashedly forward with people and, for some, that may come off as insensitive and stupid. For me, it was comedic timing and forward humor at its best. He has this insane amount of diction in his head that he can apply to any situation in order to describe it to another layperson such as himself. He is thoroughly unimpressed by every wonder (“It’s alright…”) and finds any way to use Sky1’s money in order to relax when he can.

But that’s where that stops. Gervais and Merchant are constantly calling Karl up in order to get him to do funny things for the camera. He awkwardly rides a camel, wrestles with pro wrestlers in Mexico, is unwittingly asked to stay with a gay crossdresser in Brazil, and is

Like a needle in a haystack…. (Preview of Series 2…)

always being pushed to live in terrible hotels and hostels. Seeing Karl as “the kid crying in the corner getting poked with the stick,” really is enjoyable television. I do feel bad for him sometimes though…

Is he truly an idiot? That face kinda says so…

Either way, Karl Pilkington gets to do some incredible things and see some incredible sights. He showed me, and all the other thousands of viewers who have watched him, how to rough it in other countries and where/what to steer clear of. Karl goes well beyond my own comfort zone and travels and does things I would never enjoy doing. If I had the opportunities he had, there would still be no show. So I salute you, Mr. Pilkington, for doing what Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant made fun of you for. Now, on to Series 2: The Bucket List of Karl Pilkington! 8 out of 10.