Directed by Philip Stevens Written by Giles Kristian Starring Philip Stevens, David Clayton Short Film Review by Rachel Pullen
I often think what it must have been like 100 of years ago, where entertainment was a story round a fire, where history was kept alive in the same manner, where all that was known was passed on by word of mouth.
This thought crosses my mind often when I am surrounded by people who cannot tear themselves away from their phones in social occasions, who cannot spend five minutes actually listening to one another without some kind of technological stimulation, and before you question whether or not I am hypercritical within my statement, I shall take this moment to reassure you that I, like an Amish person, do not have a smart phone.
We have become a society who can have any information and entertainment at the click of the button, we actually have the world at our fingertips and while that is amazing, I sometimes imagine what it must of felt like to hear a story rather than see it, to connect face to face, to let my imagination play out the words, and I wonder would I feel the same as I do when watching great cinematic masterpieces?
Well I’m sure you can see where this is going and yes, The Last Viking is just that.
We meet Harald Hardrada, played by Philip Stevens, who takes leave from the battlefield to sleep and feast, when suddenly he is awoken by a one-eyed figure, which without saying a word drives Hardrada to regale him with a poetic tale of the battles and triumphs of his life.
This mystery visitor is none other than Odin, who was known as the father of all gods by the Viking’s. As well as this, they believed that those who fought valiantly and bravely would feast with Odin before making their way into Valhalla, and so it is no surprise that our storyteller is breaking bread with him.
His tale is compelling and well versed, and over the crackling fire we are drawn into his story, one of heroic acts, great accomplishments and triumphs.
Director Philip Stevens has taken every detail into consideration to create this atmospheric piece of cinema, since The Last Viking is shot predominately from one angle in the same room, atmosphere plays an important part, and Stevens hits the nail on the head.
The static shot of Hardrada as he tells his story makes you feel as if you too are there, sitting around the fire, hanging on every word he says. This is a bold move in a short film that is essentially one man telling a story on camera, but add in the other effects that have been used and Stevens has created a deeply compelling and engaging stage for this tale to unfold.
Philip Stevens who play’s Hardrada gives an intense performance, but with enough reservation that we believe him to be a great Viking warrior, he allows us to get swept up in his tale, and his delivery of the story is rich in pride and valour.
The Last Viking is an engaging watch but it is simply a tale of a warrior and for those who have no interest in history or Viking warriors will find this a very boring piece of film, but for those who are on the other end of the spectrum this is a must see.