Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Valhalla Rising with Jamie Sives and Mads Mikkelsen to Screen at London Film Festival

The 2009 lineup for the London Film Festival has now been announced and includes some great news. Nicholas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising, starring Mads Mikkelsen and the wonderful Jamie Sives will screen at the festival on Thursday, OCTOBER 22, then again on Friday October 23, with a final showing on Saturday October 24.

YAY! Fingers crossed Jamie will be there!!! Online tickets sales begin Sept 23rd; more info here.

Reminder: Valhalla Rising filmed in Scotland and based out of Film City Glasgow, will screen this weekend at the Toronto Film Festival where the director and Mads are confirmed to make an appearance. TICKETS FOR THE PREMIERE ON THE 13TH STILL REMAIN, available here. The earlier reviews have been eh eh disheartening (variety's was frankly scathing alas), but Todd from Twitchfilm wrote a wonderful review of the movie, excerpts as follows:

You could say that the mark of a good film maker is that they give you want you want. And if that is true then I suggest that the mark of a great film maker is that they give you what you want while also giving you something completely different. And this is the case with Nicolas Winding Refn and Valhalla Rising. Now seven films into his career Refn continues ... not to change, exactly, but to continue finding new facets of himself and his work. His long-discussed Viking project, Valhalla Rising has roughly the same relationship to a typical historical epic that Refn's lauded Pusher films have to The Godfather. That is to say that it is a much more intimate, much more raw affair - a film that trades in technical gloss for the punch of brutal immediacy. This is the part that we have come to expect from Refn, this is what we turn to him for. The surprise in this case comes in the way that he weds the rawness to a sort of Terence Malick inspired lyricism, embracing a hypnotic approach to storytelling and editing that takes its cues not just from the film's mute lead character but - more importantly - from the harsh landscape that it explores. ... Less about the characters than its ideas - a fact borne out pointedly by only Mikkelsen being given any sort of name at all in the entire film and his being one forced on him by a child - Valhalla Rising is a film about change, bloody and violent change but change nevertheless. Mikkelsen himself - a clear reference to Odin - is already a man out of place and out of time in this world, a man stranded on his own, a position that has led him through great hardship but also gives him a unique perspective on the battle between pagans and Christians raging around him, a battle he joins not to help either side win but simply because he can and fighting is all he knows to keep himself alive. All of the characters here are less in control of their own fate than any will acknowledge willingly, all of them clinging to the idea that they carry some sort of larger destiny when in reality they are being carried along - literally for a large part of the film - by forces that they have no power or influence over. By far the most abstract of Refn's work to date, Valhalla Rising makes a fascinating companion piece to Bronson. Not only were the two shot nearly simultaneously but both find the talented Dane experimenting wildly with structure and character and how both impact his ability to tell the stories he wants. Those raised on the multiplex will, no doubt, take issue with Valhalla's measured pace but for those willing to slide into its rhythm and world, the payoff is rich indeed.

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