The ancient and modern worlds collide when archaeologist Sigurd Svendsen finds the true meaning of the secret runes found in the Oseberg ship.
I love me a viking film, truly I do. Most of the time, you get something really cheesy or, at best, wildly historically inaccurate. To have a chance to see a viking film directly from Norway, the place most of the real vikings actually came from? Priceless.
Our story begins with archeologist Sigurd (Pal Sverre Hagen) as he prepares to give a research update to his investors at the museum he works for. Sigurd has spent years studying an ancient burial site, believed to belong a viking queen. He has found a rare set of runes, a kind never seen before. And the first written record of the word “ragnarok” (the viking end of the world scenario) ever found.
Sigurd has always believed that the ancient vikings traveled much further than previously known. He also believes that “Ragnarok”, rather than an abstract concept, tells the tale of an actual event. Something that changed everything, forever. These newly discovered runes and artifacts mean he might be able to prove it.
The investors, as well as the museum director (Terje Stromdahl), are not as excited about this news as one would expect. In fact, the funding is withdrawn and Sigurd is advised to apply for a tour guide position, since he won’t be working for them as an archeologist anymore. Talk about a demotion.
Meanwhile, Sigurd has other problems, too. Unfortunately his wife died five years ago and Sigurd is left to raise their two children on his own. His daughter Ragnhild (Maria Annette Tandero Berglyd) is a little smart ass, and his son Brage (Julian Rasmussen Podolski) keeps sending out his father’s information on-line to find him a new wife.
Then his researcher, Allen (Nicholai Cleve Broch), makes an extraordinary find – a rune covered stone that, once decoded using the necklace of the viking queen, reveals that the proof of everything he has believed can be found in the upper most frozen wastelands of Norway, near the Russian border.
In a last ditch effort to prove his theory true, Sigurd packs up his kids and heads off to follow the trail of clues along with their guide, Leif (Bjorn Sundquist), and another archeologist Elisabeth (Sofia Helin).
When Brage finds a hidden cave, Sigurd hits the motherload of artifacts – pots, armour, weapons. Now he has the proof of the journey, and with a little luck maybe he can prove his other theory as well. But at what price?
Turns out their guide, Leif, is a bit of an opportunist. When he realizes that Sigurd plans to take everything back to the museum instead of selling it for profit, Leif takes matters into his own hands. He takes everything he can carry and abandons the team in the cave. What a guy.
Now on their own, Sigurd and his companions must find their way back to civilization. And this is no easy task, as Leif has also taken the boat and the climbing rigs and even the tents.
But there is a different kind of justice at play here. The answers to all of Sigurd’s questions will come sooner than he thinks, and not in the way he expected.
Visually, the film is quite good. Great use is made of all those amazing landscapes in Norway, including abandoned Russian listening stations. The cast are good as well, but considering the version I watched is dubbed in English (instead of subtitled) I can’t really judge their performances completely.
This film has a little bit of everything – history, treachery, love story, family bonding, fantasy epic, mythology. Like a slower paced Indiana Jones story, this film covers every possible base. There’s so much happening all at once, so many threads to weave together, I can’t possibly explain everything in detail.
And honestly, I don’t want to ruin it for you. There’s a little something for everybody in this film, but if I try to disseminate the entire thing, I’ll be giving away too many spoilers.
You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you it’s a really good film. It might not be for everyone, but personally I feel it has a lot going for it and is worth your time to give it a shot.
On a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 7 runestones.