Sunday, October 18, 2009

Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America

Beautiful, controversial, and blog worthy because it's different. Two vikings, presumed dead, are left behind after a bloody massacre. With no hope of a rescue, they are faced with the basic need to survive in the North American wilderness during the year 1007. Volnard and Orn (played by the director himself) come into contact with Celtic monks, Abenaki Indians, and wild animals. One of the men experiences a Christian conversion and begins to develop a conscious while the other goes deeper into his primal nature.

Tony Stone gives us a highly visual film and tells his story with a minimum of dialogue (translated humorously into our modern vernacular via subtitles). The action is gritty and the use of black metal as the musical score is appropriate and surprisingly never abrasive. This is in effect a silent film.

On the negative side, the responsible treatment of animals is questionable and one of the scenes, described as raw at best, was completely unnecessary. But, all in all, this is a true Indie film, not simply something lower budget marketed as such. Severed Ways is definitely worth watching and thinking about.

See the New York Times review here; read an interview with the director here (scroll down to the October 12 entry); and learn more about discovery here.