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Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of
by Tony Medley
Runtime 109 minutes.
This is so realistic that it is probably exactly
the way things were in the 11h century. 29-year-old Tony
Stone wrote, directed, and stars in this fictional tale of the Norsemen
who were in America
for a short period in the 11th-century.
Set in 1007, two Vikings, Volnard (Fiore Tedesco)
and Orn (Stone) find themselves abandoned and stranded by their
exploration party in the part of North America
then known as Vinland. Orn and Volnard were
survivors in a battle between the Vikings and the Abenaki Indians,
called Skraelings. Their mates think them dead, so they have gone away,
sailing north. Orn and Volnard try to survive and then begin a trek
north to try to find their mates. What they do find is adventure.
The film has very little dialogue, and what there
is, is in Greenlandic, so subtitles are used. But not to worry, there
canít be more than 200 words spoken in the entire film. It is entirely
Stone shot the film on his familyís property in
Vermont, and it is pristine. The joy in watching
the film is in fantasizing that you are probably looking at land exactly
the way it was 1,000 years ago. He captures the isolation of these two
Vikings as they are abandoned so far from home surrounded by hostile
On the downside, however, the film is extremely
slow. Stone shows them walking and walking and walking. Then they sit
around fires and watch them burn. These scenes are the equivalent of
watching grass grow.
In addition, he goes overboard on realism. He even
has a disgusting scene of Orn defecating in the forest, showing the
feces leaving his body. I donít know why anybody would want to watch
that or why he would insert such a distasteful scene in his film.
Thereís another scene in which one of them beheads a hen and it runs
around like, well, like a chicken with its head cut off. Stone admits
that what he shows on the screen was real (ďIt fed the crew that
nightĒ). These scenes carry realism too far. I donít want to see people
defecating and I donít want to see people actually killing other
creatures. For the record, I detest sport fishing and hunting unless the
purpose is for food. So, even though Stoneís mother made a stew out of
the hen and it fed his crew, I think itís inappropriate to show a live
killing in a movie.
Even though the film is almost terminally slow, the
cinematography is gorgeous and Stone expertly captures the ambience of
what it must have been like in North America
1,000 years ago. I squirmed a lot and got impatient with the slowness,
but I was transported to another time and place. Stone shows a lot of
promise as a director, although he needs to learn something about pace.
What this film needs is a good editor with a sharp pair of scissors who
could cut at least 30 minutes without losing a thing.