I have to admit a soft spot for movies which feature battle axes and leather pants in conjunction with each other. I want to love each and everyone I see yet I rarely do. I've been really yearning for one lately and was rewarded with Valhalla Rising. It's extremely violent at times, in the above image, Mads Mikkelsen, as One Eye, is about to remove and discard this guys guts like a pile of clean laundry. There is a lot of vague talk about Christianity and heathenism, some debating about where the group of Scottish crusaders One Eye has taken up with are going and where they actually are which gets a little contrite but, hey, they have to talk about something until the next time someone gets their brains beating out with a rock. The film is set in Scotland and the dense greens and mist cast sort of a diaphanous pallor over most of the imagery. It makes the violence all the more striking. Overall it reminded me a lot of Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man but there was also something sort of David Gordon Green/Terrance Mallick-y about the whole thing. The characters were barely developed and One Eye has no lines of dialogue, which could be a hurdle for some on the road to enjoying this film but it didn't bother me in the slightest. It was kind of like the director, Nicholas Winding Refn, stripped the film of possible plot holes and just left the skeletal remains of the movie. In this case I think it worked quite well.
I'm rapidly becoming a huge fan of Mikkelsen. I loved him in the Pusher series, which Refn also directed, and he stole those James Bond movies. Especially when he fucking cried blood. But I also thought he was great in a movie nobody seemed to see called Flame and Citron. Check it out, it's about the Dutch resistance during WWII. He plays the titular Citron.