Oct 15, 2011

Valhalla Rising

I do not think it would be an exaggeration for me to say that Valhalla Rising (2009), directed by Danish auteur Nicholas Winding Refn, is the greatest Odinist film that has ever been made. Unlike the multicultural-sensitive and blasphemously cartoonish Marvel Comics movie Thor (2011), Valhalla Rising is an anti-pacifist masterpiece that is lavishly steeped in the old Nordic Odinic religion. The protagonist of the film is One-Eye, who like the Germanic God Odin, is missing an eye. Also like Odin, One-Eye displays a keen affinity for war, battle, victory and death as his life revolves around these things, even as he tragically meets his untimely but prophetic demise. Valhalla Rising can also be seen as a metaphorical portrayal of the birth of Christianity and the death of Odin in ancient Europa.  After escaping and killing a group of men who forced him to fight-to-the-death other captured men, Odin meets up with a degenerate Männerbund of hopelessly holy Christian Crusaders who are sailing for the homeland of their alien Christ; Jerusalem, but instead they land in the New World; the Americas. It is immediately apparent upon their initial meeting that, despite being members of the same race, One-Eye and the Crusaders are of a wholly different nature as the band of Christians display nothing short of weary and wimpy behavior when around the unpredictable Heathen Cyclops One-Eye; a man who may have one unflinching eye but seems to have ten more in the back of his all-seeing head. As Valhalla Rising progresses, it is all too apparent that Christianity has severely pacified the blond beast Crusaders of the film. Whereas One-Eye is a bestial barbarian whose instincts are fully intact, the Crusaders display a sort of incertitude and deracination that is most certainly the result of adopting an alien religion that is at odds with their forefather's religion of battle and war.  Although Odin apparently sacrificed himself for himself, Jesus Christ (as mentioned by a Crusader in the film) sacrificed himself for all of humanity. In Valhalla Rising, the Crusaders sheepishly become the victims of Amerindians yet One-Eye proves to hold his own, until something changes his mind and he takes an unexpected path……

 In many regards, Valhalla Rising is an anti-action-adventure flick as it is a work that is recognized for its breaking of redundant genre conventions, most notably due to its artful and atmospheric prowess and its static yet strangely unpedantic pacing. Simply put, Valhalla Rising is an oh-so unfortunately rare thinking man’s action-adventure film, thus it will most likely leave your typical alcoholic American football fan in an even more drunken stupor of hopeless bewilderment and restless agitation. Although the film may not include as many battles and bloody corpses as Zach Snyder’s absurdly overrated work 300 (2007), Valhalla Rising is ultimately a more visceral and brutal work that – like the ancient Germanic barbarians – takes no prisoners. Also, unlike 300, Valhalla Rising – despite its various bloodstained dream sequences – has a truly organic feel that makes it stand eminent over its superfluous CGI-stylized contemporaries. The themes featured in Valhalla Rising are more in tune with nature and the “law of the claw," thus the film makes for a truly unique cinematic experience that the world has not seen since the films of the Third Reich. In Valhalla Rising, the Crusaders who follow anti-organic Christian laws fall prey to their theological pacifism while One-Eye – a man who still “feels” the Odinist paganism of his ancestors – seems to be invincible.  One-Eye can even be seen in Valhalla Rising staring at a Crusader-made crucifix with a smirk.  To One-Eye, the cross is nothing more than a false idol that has no more intrinsic value to him than an opera by Richard Wagner has to a crack-smoking and 40 oz.-chugging rapper.

 The conclusion of Valhalla Rising – not unlike Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring (1960) –  can be seen as a symbolic metaphor for the death of Odinic German paganism in Europe. When One-Eye – like Jesus Christ – sacrifices himself for someone other than himself, he also takes the religion of his ancestors with him into oblivion. After all, Gods and religions only die when the adherent of these beliefs are no more but it has also been stated reputable psychologists that these religions are passed on (albeit dormant) through the blood of ancestors. In Swiss psychoanalyst C.G. Jung’s essay Wotan (aka Odin), he theorized that the spirit of Odin continues to slumber in the collective unconscious of all Germanic peoples, stating of Germans during the first half of the twentieth century, "But what is more than curious -- indeed, piquant to a degree -- is that an ancient god of storm and frenzy, the long quiescent Wotan, should awake, like an extinct volcano, to new activity, in a civilized country that had long been supposed to have outgrown the Middle Ages. We have seen him come to life in the German Youth Movement, and right at the beginning the blood of several sheep was shed in honour of his resurrection. Armed with rucksack and lute, blond youths, and sometimes girls as well, were to be seen as restless wanderers on every road from the North Cape to Sicily, faithful votaries of the roving god." Jung believed that the National Socialist revolution in Germany was an atavistic awakening of Wotan in the German populous and that every so often, the rouse of the old pagan gods was only nature, adding "If we apply are admittedly peculiar point of view consistently, we are driven to conclude that Wotan must, in time, reveal not only the restless, violent, stormy side of his character, but, also, his ecstatic and mantic qualities -- a very different aspect of his nature. If this conclusion is correct, National Socialism would not be the last word. Things must be concealed in the background which we cannot imagine at present, but we may expect them to appear in the course of the next few years or decades. Wotan's reawakening is a stepping back into the past; the stream was damned up and has broken into its old channel." Although One-Eye Sacrifices himself for the life of another, he does so in an honorable manner by allowing himself to be killed in battle, thus securing a position in Valhalla; the heavenly “hall of the slain” that Odin reigns over. To the ancient Germanic peoples, sins (in the Christian sense) like rape, pillaging, and murder were considered nothing short of honorable. Throughout Valhalla Rising, One-Eye sneers at the Christian Crusaders in a most sinister but deserving manner. In his mind, by killing these passive Christians, he is altruistically giving them a sense of honor that they are indubitably undeserving of. 

Recently, a class action lawsuit was taken against FilmDistrict, the distributor of the film Drive (2011), by a soulless and philistinic wench due to her exceedingly petty and pathetic belief that the film’s trailer is misleading, the film features very little driving/chase scenes, and that it promotes violence against Jewish people. I am sure that this disgruntled money-siphoning she-bitch would be even more angered if she were to watch Drive director Nicholas Winking Refn's previous film Valhalla Rising; a work that pisses on the scrolls of the Hebraic Judeo-Christian religions and the very weak and meek kind of society that she is symbolic of.  Needless to say, such class action lawsuits would be nothing short of an absurdity in a world where Odin reigns. With the transvaluation of all values and destruction of a master morality that formed in Europe via the slave-morality of Christianity came a lamentable “taming of the blond beast." Although disguised as a mere Viking action-adventure film, Valhalla Rising portrays this suicidal change in a somewhat subtle manner. Through Christianity eventually came the liberal humanism that is now common in the Occident today. If modern Germanic peoples continue to uphold these deracinating and apocalyptic self-destructive trends, they can expect to meet a similar fate to that of One-Eye when he passively offers himself to hostile Amerindians. Aside from being an exquisite work of bloody martial art, Valhalla Rising features an important Odinic philosophy of the warrior spirit that can only bring strength to the post-Christianized Europoid.  Set to a score of ambient noise, Valhalla Rising, like a religious ceremony, is first and foremost, a work that is meant to be felt and wholly embraced by the viewer.  If any film can inspire a person or a collective to go on the Wild Hunt, it is Valhalla Rising.

-Ty E


jervaise brooke hamster said...

A truly brilliant and incredible reveiw easily ranking amongst the best that have ever been posted on this site (although i only understood about 30% of it), thats the great thing about this site, although Ty E and mAQ have intellects on a par with Noam Chomsky they are still able to be sympathetic and understanding towards a sad, pathetic, desperate, Heather O`Rourke obsessed lunatic like me. By the way, i`m looking forward to this sites take on the afore-girl-tioned "Drive" it should be an equally impressive reveiw.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this film once and have not watched it again upon writing this comment. But I wanted to add an interpretation of the ending, in which One-Eye sacrifices himself at the hands of the Native Americans. This scene symbolized for me the boy's future as an uprooted European in an alien land, forced to choose between One-Eye's Odinism and the Christianity of the knights. Which one he chooses for himself (if he chooses at all) is uncertain but it's hopeful, given One-Eye's consistency and the boy's loyalty to him, that Odin will live on somehow in the New World.

Just an American's interpretation.