Lords of Chaos

Pull the trigger!

Cast : Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Sky Ferreira, Valter Skarsgard, Anthony De La Torre and Jack Kilmer

So after several weeks away due to a variety of factors, I am finally back with a review. I’ve taken a small break for a variety of reasons, including not really having motivation, struggling to enjoy reviewing films (notice how pretty much all that I have posted so far this year have been at the time that they’re at the cinema), but most importantly, not having a working laptop, but thankfully that last one, minus £429, has been solved.

For my first review back after the break I am again looking at a movie that is currently at the cinemas, something that I don’t really enjoy reviewing, despite the previous paragraph. However, the reason I am reviewing this is because it delights me that we’ve finally got an 18 rated film released in the UK that actually deserves that rating. Most often films with that BBFC rating are not worth is, but this is not only worthy, but if there was a higher rating I wouldn’t be surprised if it would have been given that.

“Lords of Chaos” has gained controversy due to the apparent loose grip on what actually happened, so did the film actually overcome that to be a good movie?

Plot

Euronymous (Culkin) is determined to establish a new genre into 1980s Norway, namely Norwegian Black Metal, forming a band with his friends called “Mayhem”. One day they receive a demo from a young singer called Pelle (Kilmer), who they invite to join the band, and he uses his suicidal tendencies to shock crowds, including slitting his wrists on stage, gaining the band publicity. This is far from an act though as he soon kills himself.

Despite not outwardly showing grief, Euronymous is saddened by the death and is won over by Kristian (Cohen), who he had previously called a “poser”, especially after he releases a one-man metal album. The two become good friends, but things soon start taking a turn as Kristian, now going by “Varg”, starts burning down churches, which Euronymous takes credit for, despite having nothing to do with it.

As time goes on, Varg becomes less and less trusting of Euronymous, leading to him taking a drastic step.

So is it worth the controversy?

 There has been a lot said about the historical accuracy of the events depicted in the movie, especially on the Youtube channel run by the real life “Varg”, but in terms of an actual film, I downright enjoyed this and was thinking about it for several days afterwards.

Now, I will clarify that statement. Before about two weeks ago I had never heard of the events of this film, the names Euronymous or Varg, or even the band “Mayhem” (and I spent every Friday night in my late teams and early twenties in the local rock bar), so I went in my no preconceptions, I went in just wanting to watch a film, and I base pretty much any review on the film itself, not necessarily the events in real life. Show me a single film “based on historical events” that is 100% accurate. So before I continue, I can’t stress enough that this is based purely on the film itself, not how accurate it may or may not be.

Anyway, for those not interested in slow build movies, just avoid this. At just under 2 hours long there isn’t actually a lot that seemingly happens on the surface, but themes of paranoia, distrust and hiding what you truly feel all fit together exceptionally well at the end, and if you don’t know the true life events going in then it takes you by surprise at times, especially when Pelle kills himself so early into the film (which, by the way, makes it a little odd that Jack Kilmer is advertised as one of the main actors in the film, even though he is barely in it, and with all due to respect to Jack, he isn’t a big enough name to warrant that).

The acting is generally decent for a relatively unknown cast, with Culkin and Cohen having great chemistry as the fr-enemies, but what impressed me the most was this movie was rated as 18 in the UK, and as mentioned above it is the first movie in a long time that I have seen that justifies that certificate. It is gruesome, violent and definitely has the potential to offend, which is something that I don’t say often.

One thing that I should say, even though I am definitely going to recommend seeing this movie, is that if you can’t stand the genre of music, then maybe this isn’t for you, as the movie has a soundtrack full of those songs.

Summary

Dark, gruesome, violent and visceral, “Lords of Chaos” may be historically inaccurate, but show me any “based on historical events” film that is 100% true. I genuinely enjoyed this and when my local cinema shows it for the first time in a few weeks (I had to go to a cinema 50 miles away to watch it), I will be there to see it for a second time.

The acting is decent, the movie is genuinely surprising at times, and the slow build nature works very well in this context.

If you can find a cinema relatively near to you, then I’d recommend giving it a watch.

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