Being a huge fan of Nicholas Winding Refn (The Pusher Trilogy, Bleeder, Fear X, Bronson), I had very high hopes for this film, and it did not disappoint! I see it has been marketed as an all-action adventure like 300, which is a mistake as it is far more similar to much earlier Kurosawa or Tarkovsky films (as several critics have mentionned)! It is a slow-paced, dream-like, beautifully shot, almost dialogue-free study on the circular nature of violence, man's innate savagry, and the effects of religion on the earlier, pagan peoples. While the violence is sparse, when it does occur, it is almost unbearably graphic (that this film is a 15 is hugely shocking!), realistic, and not made to look heroic or stylised in any way. The characters seem fully developed without any real dialogue for the most part, and while the storyline is relatively basic, it is also highly unique & original!
Mads Mikkelson gives a fantastic performance as the mute, one-eyed, central character, and his relationship with the boy is truly hypnotic!
To sum up: An intelligent, brutal, important & original film that everyone who loves good cinema should see!