This film by Refn is a straight forward allegory with Christianity represented by the chief and Mikklesen representing Nordic paganism. There are no female characters. The costumes and landscapes remind me of Odd Nerdrum paintings. While the fight scenes are well- staged and the landscapes are starkly beautiful there's a problem. The problem is at the very end so I have to talk about it.
If you are going to set the movie up as a mythical allegory then you must be true to the attributes the characters represent and Refn doesn't do this. Or rather, he quits doing this at the very end. He's fine with the Christian dying while bellowing about universalist kingdoms but paganism isn't universal. It's specific to each race or ethnic group. Vikings in particular had a very strong sense about identity and valor. After all, Valhalla was a place for Viking warriors who died fighting. Therefore, the pagan character would not lay down his weapons and let the enemy kill him. Nowhere in the movie is he converted to Christianity. There is no indication in the movie that the killing saved the boy's life. How could it?
The only explanation is that he's gone mad. Otherwise, the logic of this allegory, the persona One-eye represents, is contradicted by his baffling acquiescence. It completely defies his nature and there is no explanation for it. Like I said, it's as if he's suddenly gone mad. But, there's no indication of this in the story. So, the ending for me was disappointing. Otherwise, a serious movie with an interesting premise.
This movie is so good it should be shown, repeatedly, in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Millions foolishly waiting in long lines at US consulates and border crossings must be warned. They and their many descendants can be saved from hideous lives of rage and despair. Oh, thank you Bobcat for your timely message. This wonderful film is a stark warning and will open many eyes to the horror that lies ahead.
What else can one say? Shakespeare this may not be but, hey, its a film that is Satire folks. You see, we can watch something that pokes fun at all those evil right-wing Americans and feel superior at the same time. What more do you want for goodness sake! AND you can fantasize about killing people you don't like! Because you care. After all, its for the children.
Longford was a bit of a twit wasn't he? Or at least in this movie, no? He's made to say: "She has enriched my Spiritual Life" and "No matter how evil (one is), one can be redeemed." Oh really? By whom, one may ask? Isn't that someone else's job? Lady Longford is made to say (shaken to her core): "I had no idea (about prison conditions)". It reminds me of 19th century upper-class mad house viewing but modernized for progressives. Its really about their own feelings. The kids? The real victims? Oh, yeah. Well, whatever . . .
We have people like Longford in the States. They are called ACLU lawyers and they are definitely not trying to find God through slumming. There's a French phrase for this, three words that begin with NdB, but I can't get IMDb to accept.
I did like the camera work and thought the acting superb. Cheers, everyone.
Hallucinogenic alienation and left-wing schmaltz during a trek on ancient Christian pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, shrine of Santiago Matamoros - Saint James the Moor-Killer. One plot line revolves around two young men of Arabic descent who speak French and their relationship with their traveling companions. These people are indigenous French equally étranger to Christianity or at any rate very open-minded indeed. Another theme concerns three older siblings who must go on this particular pilgrimage in order to collect an inheritance. One of these is a state-supported alcoholic who receives no ascertainable spiritual or social benefit from the effort. Another is an uptight conservative sans social conscience who magically awakens to his plight through no other means than simply suffering a bit of discomfort and outward bound-type group bonding. The third is a dedicated socialist teacher well versed in Christian-baiting. At a later date she is apparently ready to "screw the rich" (as discussed earlier in a tender moment) via Eurabic alliances bolstered by her Christian mother's money. The movie is interspersed with inchoate dream sequences meant to rival Christian grandeur but merely succeeds in reminding this viewer of the increasingly banal nihilism of European elites. Clever plot full of modernist irony, beautiful scenery of France and Spain, and multicultural sentimentality only residents of the wealthier Parisian arrondissements could love.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who knows even just a little about modern France or French language. (I believe this movie is not subtitled.) I myself can read but not speak (much) of that wonderful language but there is enough visual storytelling and jokes to allow you to make with the ha-ha. Best scene for me: the inconsolable fans in the bar at the unhappy conclusion of the football game. The movie even has stylish ending credits where the hero finds himself in a Baroque or possibly Rococo French line dance during a masquerade ball. Artus de Penguern does a superb job as writer/director and as Gregoire, ever hopeful, but stymied lover of would-be Madame Bovary played by Pascale Arbillot.
The film is a pre-Enlightenment allegory, or the description of one thing under the guise of another. Certainly not social utopianism or realism. The young woman tempts the mortal laws by defying custom and the material world. She wants to follow her spirit and a craving for Shakespeare and the world of Orpheus. She is compelled to bring forth the child . . . or the longing of her soul. She suffers various hardships and adventures on her journey, sometimes comically and ineptly aided by her hapless buffoon father and idiot-savant brother. Only when she leaves the earth can the mysterious birth occur in the coupling of the female with the male.