DVD REVIEW: Viking – The Darkest Day

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A Sword & Sandals mini-epic, blatantly trying to capitalise on the recent TV show, but still holding its own admirably!

 

 

 

The Blurb: 

A novice monk, must deliver the Holy Gospel of Lindisfarne – a book of great beauty and power – to the safety of the Iona monastery, while being pursued by a Viking death squad hell-bent on its capture.

Out  4th November     Rating 15     Runtime 98 mins     Genre Adventure

 

So first thing – my summation: this is not as bad as you might think. It doesn’t make for easy watching sometimes – downright brutal at other times, such as the rape and murder of a monk by a sea-hardened Viking. But if “gritty down to the toilet practices of the day,” no holds barred historical dramas such as the Vikings TV show, Spartacus or Da Vinci’s Demons is your bag, then this film is right up your street.

Allegedly “inspired by true events,” the story follows Hereward, a novice monk who, following the ransacking of his own monastery and brutal death of his mentor, must deliver the Holy Gospel of Lindisfarne – a book of great beauty and power – to the safety of the Iona monastery. Cast into a violent and bloody world of murder, he is pursued by a Viking death squad hell-bent on its capture. On his way to the monastery, he meets a fierce and skilled swordsman who answers his prayers and dedicates his life to protecting Hereward while he delivers the book. He also meets Eara, a Pagan girl they rescue from the Vikings.

This is not a Hollywood blockbuster, nor is it sugar-coated. It’s an independent British film about the dark ages, and clearly the makers wanted to show how brutal the dark ages really were. I read that the film’s budget was only £100,000 – not exactly a large amount of money – but with its stark location and small crew (in front of the camera, and I’m guessing behind it too), the quality of this film is not bad. There is a lot of walking around the damp landscape and heavy dialogue hanging in the equally heavy grey skies and bleak British weather, but it is really quite well done and well scripted – you certainly get the impression that a lot of research went into this and they didn’t just make things up as they went along, like Hollywood is prone to do.

The cast of unknowns also put in a decent set of performances, proving that £100K can turn out something quite artful…

 

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: SilverFox

From: Signature Entertainment

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