Lords of Chaos Review
Oslo, Norway in the early 1990s. and a new style of Metal explodes onto the scene. 'True Norwegian black metal' was not something that passed you by if you were a fan of heavy and black metal, and the history of Mayhem was/is common knowledge to some: suicide, arson, violence and murder which ultimately led to Kristian 'Varg' Vikernes' incarceration and, now, Jonas Åkerlund's film.
17-year-old Euronymous (Rory Culkin) wishes to escape his life and with the help of some of his friends - Jørn 'Necrobutcher' Stubberud (Jonathan Barnwell), Jan Axel 'Hellhammer' Blomberg (Anthony De La Torre), Bård Guldvik 'Faust' Eithun (Valter Skårsgard), and Pelle 'Dead' Ohlin (Jack Kilmer) - he forms the most evil band in the world... Mayhem. The band achieve notoriety for their live performances but the monstrous world Euronymous has created spirals out of control when Varg (Emory Cohen), of the band Burzum, comes into his life.
Lords of Chaos' script is written by the Swedish Director and co-writer Dennis Magnusson and inspired by the 2003 book of the same name (by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind). Åkerlund takes this time in music history and depicts it in three stages. Firstly, it almost seems to be set up like a comedy, with the band doing stupid and shocking things for laughs, then the story gets darker with a suicide and then darker still with the introduction of Cohen's Varg. You watch it play out in all its ridiculousness, knowing in the back of your mind that it is mostly true, which somehow makes it even more ludicrous.
The film is narrated by Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth and is played by youngest Culkin, Rory. He is surrounded by a young cast who play their respective roles very matter of factly, without empathy. There are even actual people from the time period who show up in the cast, giving it that extra bit of authenticity. Kerrang writer Jason Arnopp plays a version of himself as he was back then, however, the real star of the show is Daniel Martin (High Rise, Journeyman, In Fabric). His prosthetics and practical effects outshine the rest of the production. Without the convincing and visceral FX by Martin and his team, it's doubtful the film would be as hard hitting as it is. That said, Director Åkerlund approaches the material in a non exploitative way, with his trademark editing style, and documentary-like cinematography he creates a film that is transfixing despite its heavy and dark subject matter.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation - Generally, this is a great presentation. Perfectly captures the grim nature of the piece. 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 stereo options - The DTS track is strong, balanced, and does the job intended. Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Blood Fire Death - a new interview with writer-director Jonas Åkerlund. Here, the Director delves into his past as a musician, and his links to this project. From the Dark Past - a new interview with journalist and author Jason Arnopp. This is a fun extra, where Arnopp talks about playing a version of himself, and his memories of the 1990s. Son of Satan - an interview with Arion Csihar, who plays his own father Attila Csihar in the film. Another interesting extra that links the past and the present together. Csihar Jr. talks about his own filmmaking interests, and how he approached playing his father.
A Dangerous Meeting - an interview with Sam Coleman, who plays Jon 'Metalion' Kristiansen in the film. Coleman talks about playing a real, living person, and his process in getting the part. Carnage - an interview with special effects artist Dan Martin. Martin is incredibly engaging and talks through the SFX for the film, working with Åkerlund and more. On-stage introduction to the film by Thurston Moore filmed at the Rio Cinema, London, 2018. This is a tad rambling, but its inclusion is warranted as Sonic Youth's Moore talks about the film.
Outtakes - A collection of excised scenes from the movie. Also included: An image gallery, the original trailer and teasers and reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options. FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Metal Hammer’s Jonathan Selzer. Once again, Arrow Academy's booklet adds an extra dimension to the film, and that they are included only adds to the package.
Lords of Chaos is out on Blu-ray from Arrow Academy on July 22 2019
Lords of Chaos (2018)
Dir: Jonas Åkerlund | Cast: Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, Valter Skarsgård | Writers: Dennis Magnusson (screenplay by), Didrik Søderlind (inspired by "Lords of Chaos" written by), Jonas Åkerlund (screenplay by), Michael Moynihan (inspired by "Lords of Chaos" written by)