Here’s something a little different, to say the least. Severed Ways deals with two Vikings, played by director Tony Stone and actor Fiore Tedesco, who are stranded on the shores of a land which will soon be known as Newfoundland. There, they are forced to cope with nature and try to survive, and have run-ins with early Christians and the Skrælingar, who are now known as the Inuit. One night they meet up an early Christian settlement, where they kill one of the monks and spare the other. Soon, tensions arise, as one of the Vikings is feeling more drawn toward the surviving monk’s Christian philosophy, and the other won’t abandon his Viking faith.
If there was a movie that could have symbolized the term ‘docu-drama’ it would be this one. When filmmaker Tony Stone decided to make an ultra-realistic film about Vikings in the woods, he really went all out, showing us every single detail in slow, agonizing realism. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate these sequences, but Mr. Stone could have used from the tool of editing to try and cut down what was a movie that would have easily lasted under 80 minutes, done well. We understand you want to be realistic, Mr. Stone, but it’s just not that interesting to see a group of Vikings cutting down a tree and making a shelter like it was some sort of tutorial guide, especially for me since I live in Puerto Rico and am not likely to get lost in the woods anytime soon. I also didn’t need to see Vikings shitting on the woods, really shitting. But I will give the filmmaker this: the cinematography in this film is GORGEOUS! It’s very rare to see this type of camerawork in a digital film, but it’s there. The landscapes are beautiful and captured to perfection in ways that recall the best work of John Ford.
Now for one of the complaints I have that really shouldn’t be there, but it is anyway. Why is the soundtrack composed of power and black metal? Now don’t get me wrong, I love metal, have been a metalhead since I was a teenager and I dig some of the bands used in the soundtrack, but just because I like metal doesn’t mean I support it’s use in movies. Movies like this should have an original score. There is a sequence where the Vikings party as they burn down a church. The use of an original score would have given the sequence real power. Instead we get “Entrance” by Dimmu Borgir. It’s the same problem Phenomena has with putting Iron Maiden on it’s soundtrack: you stop giving a shit about atmosphere and you only get a fucking metal song. But still, with all it’s faults, the camerawork and cinematography in the film are as good as it gets. Paul Stone has a real talent for filmmaking, and I look forward to his work in the future.