Monday, July 29, 2013

A Viking Saga: Darkest Day ~ A Hero's Journey

A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day - Banner | A Constantly Racing Mind

Occasionally you find a film that very few people have heard of, and you find, that not only is the movie well made, has decent production values, good dialog, an effective musical score, and is well acted.  That is exactly the case with "A Viking Saga: Darkest Day." While the film is not epic in any sense of the term, it is a solid period piece.  Welsh director, Chris Crow does so much with so little. The film is rated R for the violence and runs just under an hour and a half.

Drawn from a rich history of England and Wales, writers Graham Davidson and Crow put together an adventure story that not only give homage to the hero's journey, but also makes an interesting, but not epic story.  A price of historical fiction, it sets the framework for the story of a small group of adventurer's trek across England in order to deliver the book of the White Christ to monastery in Northern Scotland.  After a Viking raid on the monastery Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, two monks escape the carnage to deliver the illuminated book now known as the Lindisfarne Gospels.  The book is a beautifully leather bound, jeweled encrusted, illustrated copy of the four Gospels of the Christian Bible.

A Viking Saga: Darkest Day -  The Abbot of Lindesfarne - Banner | A Constantly Racing Mind


The Vikings are portrayed as ruthless pirates whose goal has switched from gold and other traditional plunder, to the search of the holy book.  Hadrada (Joshua Richards) King of Ekero (in Sweden) has raided the Abbey, tortured the monks, demanding the whereabouts of the holy book of the white Christ.  He is a pagan searching for power over the Anglo-Saxons in Briton.  "A Viking Saga: Darkest Day" becomes a commentary on a man twisting of religion for his own gain.  Hadrada believes that with the book he can control the people, and make his son king of this land.

A Viking Saga: Darkest Day - : - Aethelwulf - Banner | A Constantly Racing Mind


The date is Jan 8, 793 and an elder Abbot Athelstan (Christopher Godwin), and the young, inexperienced monk Hereward (Marc Pickering) flee through the cold, and misty, woods north to Iona, Scotland.  Along the way, they meet the warrior Aethelwulf, then later, the Scot- Pictish girl Eara (Helen Rhys).  Hamal (Michael Jibson), an usurper to Hadrada's throne, vies for power, and Yngvar (Peter Jibson), the king's son falls in battle with Aethelwulf.  As I said before the acting is solid, the sword fights look realistic, and the photography is very well done.  The fight scenes are violent in that the goal was to depict the world of that time was brutal and life was cheap.

As their journey progresses, the young and frightened Hereward, learns lesson of belief, and grows in faith, endurance, and what it takes to serve Christ and his people.  This is one of the films that appeals to fans of historical fiction, or to those who are into the History channel's "Viking" series, or into HBO's "Game of Thrones." The film is enjoyable, and interesting to watch.


Movie Data

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Year:  2013
Staring: Marc Pickering, Christopher Godwin, Mark Lewis Jones, Elen Rhys, Joshua Richards, Michael Jibson
Director: Chris Crow
Producer(s): Graham Davidson, Antony Smith
Writer: Graham Davidson, Chris Crow
Rating: R