Like most Scandinavian films, this one uses nature as a sort of character of beauty but also personality. In one scene, there is a blizzard that affects the storyline quite a bit and prevents certain characters from progressing on their journey. Nature is a force to be reckoned with in this snowy region, but it is also a charming and spiritual force. At another point in the film, we get to see the sun shine through the trees onto the pale white snow, making it glisten. This portrayal made me reminisce on my favorite film of last year, The Revenant. I was taken away by the images of snowy mountains and green pine trees. The opening scene even acts as an amazing establishing shot with some of the best cinematography I have seen in quite a while.
Nils Gaup's (Pathfinder) direction is another great reason to watch this film. Clocking in at 1 hour and 39 minutes, this film flew by in a breeze. The action continues to snowball into the final scene and I was grasping my seat as I got to travel all around 13th-century Norway. This is a feat in pacing that is often hard to find in epic storylines such as this one. Not only that, but the score by Gaute Storaas compliments the film so well with a churchy choral that layers itself well over the landscape as it shifts from somber to grand. I look forward to hearing and seeing more from these filmmakers.
The Bottom Line: This epic feat plays with nature and rises above the typical epic trash that is has been released by Hollywood in the past few years.
Image credit: http://cdn.birkie.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Birkebein_A4_main_trykk-700x997.jpg