Film Review: Lords of Chaos

Director and co-writer Jonas Åkerlund’s Lords of Chaos is grimly entertaining in spite of its flaws. 

Euronymous wants to put Norwegian black metal on the map. His quest for success comes at a price however, as he and other members of the band find out…

Based on the book of the same name, Lords of Chaos is a rough biopic of Mayhem’s Euronymous. With the subtitle ‘based on truth and lies’, screenwriters Åkerlund and Dennis Magnusson make it clear that this is not exactly an accurate account. Instead, the writers fill the gaps as they see fit. The result is picture that aims for extremes yet is often amusing. 

Where Lords of Chaos stumbles is its failure to add detail to the unfolding action. The news reports indicate what a big story the church burnings was at the time (for those unaware), yet the film lacks any sort of timeline. Viewers do not have a clear context of Mayhem’s rise in relation to the criminal activity, and their corresponding level of fame. Perhaps the director wanted to distance the narrative from facts, but the result is less than satisfying. 

The most appealing aspect of the film is that Åkerlund does not take his subject matter too seriously. He astutely juxtaposes the band’s desire to be menacing with the comfortable, middle class backgrounds. Rather than princes of darkness, the band are depicted as rebels against their ordinary home lives. Moreover, the portrayal of protagonist Euronymous is most engaging. For a portion of the film, it is unclear whether he is a great showman, a smart publicist, or a believer in what he is espousing. As the film progresses, this becomes clear, setting up a distinction between him and Varg. 

Lords of Chaos is incredibly gruesome in parts. The film is not for the easily disturbed, with some very gory sequences, as well as abject depictions throughout. Rory Culkin delivers a good performance as Euronymous; believable as both the showman and the calculating entrepreneur. Emory Cohen is a little too unsettling as Varg. It may have worked better if this his disturbing nature was revealed gradually rather than from the outset. Besides the setting, the film does not feel particularly Norwegian, due in part to the American accents. 

A biopic with a horror slant, Lords of Chaos is an engaging film, in spite of some hard to swallow scenes. 

Previews: Hellboy Trailer, Pain and Glory, More!

A profusion of films in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Hellboy trailer, Pain and Glory, Mid90s and more…

Hellboy Trailer

Above is the brand new Hellboy trailer. The film is set in England, where the title character has to take on an ancient sorceress. Hellboy stars David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, and Sasha Lane. The film hits UK screens on 11th April 2019.

Pain and Glory Trailer

Pain and Glory is the latest film from Pedro Almodóvar. The veteran filmmaker’s latest is about a film director in decline as he experiences a number of encounters from his past. With a cast that includes Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory will be released in UK cinemas on 23rd August 2019.

Little Trailer

Here is the trailer for Little. The film is a reversal of the Big/13 Going on 30 bodyswap comedy, with the adult being the one who returns to childhood. Little is based on an idea by Marsai Martin, who stars alongside Regina Hall and Issa Rae. The film is directed by Tina Gordon, with a screenplay by Tracy Oliver and Gordon. Little is out at UK cinemas on 12th April 2019.

Rocketman Trailer

Taron Egerton plays Elton John in this new Rocketman trailer. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the film is a biopic of the legendary singer. Egerton has recorded some of Elton John’s most famous songs for the film, which counts John among the executive producers. Rocketman will hit UK cinemas in May 2019.

Mid90s Trailer

Here is the trailer for Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s. Hill also wrote the film, which is a coming of age tale about a young boy in 1990s Los Angeles. The film stars Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, and Lucas Hedges. Mid90s will be released on UK screens on 12th April 2019.

The Curse of La Llorona Poster

The Curse of La Llorona is a new horror about a weeping woman caught between heaven and hell. The film counts James Wan among its producers, and is the directorial debut of Michael Chaves. The Curse of La Llorona is set for release on 3rd May 2019.

Lords of Chaos Trailer

Lords of Chaos has been getting rave reviews, as well as some notoriety for how graphic it is. The film tells the semi-true story of the birth of Norwegian black metal with the band Mayhem. Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, and Sky Ferreira, Lords of Chaos will hit UK screens on 29th March 2019.

Under the Silver Lake Trailer

Under The Silver Lake is the new film from writer-director David Robert Mitchell (It Follows). The film stars Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough. The film is a neo-noir about a man who discovers a mysterious woman swimming in his apartment complex’s pool. Under the Silver Lake will be released at cinemas and on Mubi from 15th March 2019.

Film Review: Brooklyn


Director John Crowley’s Brooklyn is a period romance that will charm viewers. The film feels safe but accomplished.

Eillis Lacey has limited opportunity to work in her native Ireland. Travelling to New York, like many other young Irish people at that time, Eillis finds herself far from her family and all she has known in Brooklyn…

Directed by John Crowley and scripted by Nick Hornsby, based on Colm Toibin’s novel, Brooklyn is a film about an immigrant in the 1950s. The film tells the tale of Eillis, a shy Irish girl who learns to call Brooklyn her home. The film does not concentrate on the harsh realities of immigrants at such a time, instead focusing on the protagonist’s struggle to adjust to her new life and a burgeoning romance.

Hornsby has managed to draw a sympathetic character with protagonist Eillis. At first shy and homesick, it is easy to empathise with her. On her return visit to Ireland, Eillis becomes less sympathetic. This is because the audience is asked to invest in her relationship with Tony. The strength of Brooklyn is the skill of the writing in making Eillis sympathetic, then less sympathetic, before redeeming her.

Brooklyn is well paced and entertaining throughout. The romance between Eillis and Tony is wonderfully depicted. The 1950s setting allows for an old-fashioned style of romance; this gentle courting is delightful to watch. Art direction and production values are great; there is a polished look to the film, with its wonderful styling and costumes, which matches the tone of the film.

The setting of Brooklyn is a rather sanitised vision of New York and Ireland in the 1950s. There is no real sense of the socio-political issues of the time. Rather than a film about immigration in the period, the film is a personal story and a romance. Saoirse Ronan delivers a convincing performance as Eillis. She has good chemistry with Emory Cohen’s Tony. Julie Walters provides laughs as Mrs Kehoe.

Beguiling to the eye and charming throughout, Brooklyn is a wonderful slice of escapism.

Brooklyn is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2015.