Lords of Chaos
lords of chaos | jonas akerlund | dennis magnusson | rory culkin | emory cohen | jack kilmer | biography | drama | music | thriller | psychopath | sociopath | true story | sky ferreira | valter skarsgard | anthony de la torre | united kingdom | sweden | jonathan barnwell
Film: Lords of Chaos
Director: Jonas Åkerlund
Writer: Dennis Magnusson and Jonas Åkerlund
Starring: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen and Jack Kilmer
This was a film I was interested in for the fact that I heard a podcast about the events this is based off. The film even starts stating this is based on truth, lies and what really happened. The official synopsis is a teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the early 1990’s results in a very violent outcome.
Euronymous (Rory Culkin) is our main character and he narrates to start off us off. We will also get this periodically throughout the film. He lives in a normal, middle class family, but he is the black sheep of his family, being that he is into metal. He is against that his country is a monarchy and that it is deeply religious. He is in a metal band named Mayhem, but they need a singer. He is reached out to by Pelle ‘Dead’ Olmin (Jack Kilmer). After hearing him, he knows he’s perfect.
Together, they get a house in the middle of nowhere. Dead shows Euronymous how to do his make-up as they prepare for their first show. They go out and have promotional shoot as well. We see that Dead is quite unstable though, as he is severely depressed. Things take a turn as he kills himself. Euronymous finds him and instead of calling for help, gets a camera to take pictures. He also makes the surviving band members necklaces made of his skull.
From here he meets Kristian ‘Varg’ Vikernes (Emory Cohen). He turns out to be a poser and Euronymous mocks him. Euronymous with his band has put the genre of Norwegian Black Metal on the map. He has his own label and record store, with the help of his father. There’s a room in the basement for those that really embrace the lifestyle and it’s called the Black Circle. Varg comes back and brings a tape of his band. Euronymous hears it and is intrigued.
Things start to get out of hand though when Varg burns a church down. He tells Euronymous that those that really embrace the lifestyle need to make things happen. Euronymous takes credit for him doing it though, stating he said to take action and he did. There are other things that escalate even more and things get out of hand. We also see how scary Varg really is.
What is really intriguing about this is that everything that happens is based on true events. Now I’ve never read the book that details all of this. I have listen to a podcast that didn’t go as in depth, but there were quite a few things I remembered as watching this film play out. I have to say that this is pretty interesting, especially someone that is a former juggalo, because I definitely saw myself in this film.
I really want to delve into that for this review. When I was in junior high, I was really into the band the Insane Clown Posse and others on their label of the Psychopathic Family. This in turn got me into neumetal as well. I actually was still an honors student and actually played sports, despite me being into these dark groups and saying that I followed a lot of things they were for. In the end though, I was just a poser trying to be different, but needing a place. Now as an adult, I look back and think its funny, because in my group of friends, I’m the horror expert. I can still be into these things without dressing a certain way and just being me. The issue though we see in this film is that some of them are a bit insane.
What I mean by this, Euronymous is kind of a tool. Everything that happens, he takes credit for, but he really doesn’t do anything. Any type of crime that is committed by his friends, he tells them he inspired them to do it. On the other side though, Varg really has issues. He embraces this lifestyle, but he is a psychopath. The same could really be said about Bård Guldvik 'Faust' Eithun (Valter Skarsgård). He goes way too far and we see that he is into horror films, but I don’t think that’s what caused him to do what he did. Varg is just a scary and intimidating presence.
I do have to say that I like how this film is paced. Being that is a based on a true story, I’m sure that things are changed and cutout to ensure that it flows like a film should. Real life doesn’t always work out that way. With what was put into this film was good and it really built the tension. I felt myself getting more and more worried as things continue to escalate, until they come to a head with the conclusion. I wouldn’t say that the ending is really satisfying, but it is sad that is what it came to. It had me hooked from the beginning though, I will give it that.
Acting for the film was really good across the board. Culkin I thought was great as the lead here. He has a look of not being all that bad looking and just fitting the character very well. He brings arrogance, even though he shouldn’t. He is smart enough to make himself the center of things that he shouldn’t, but he’s also weak and this gets him into trouble. Cohen was great as a weak person who grows into such a psychopath. With things he does, he just becomes scarier and scarier as he grows. I did feel bad for him in the beginning though when he’s mocked. I thought Kilmer, Skarsgård, Anthony De La Torre and the rest of the Goths in the film were good as well. I also wanted to shout out to Sky Ferreira. I liked her role and seeing her nude wasn’t half bad either. The rest of the cast round out the film for what was needed.
Something that really blew me away in this film was the effects. Seeing Dead on stage and him cutting himself looked so real. It made me cringe. They seem to do all of the effects practically and it is a great move, as it really does look real. The film is also shot beautifully. There is a bit of realism where we see film recorded on a video camera, which is inline with the time period.
Finally this brings me to the score of the film, which if you haven’t guessed is full of metal music. It really isn’t necessarily my genre, but it fits perfectly for the film. I did catch myself kind of bobbing my head to the music, so if you can get any kind of reaction out of me, I definitely think it works for the film.
Now I have to say, this film is actually pretty interesting. I will admit that I don’t know the entire story to this, but I think this film constructed it in a way that was interesting. It is crazy that this really happened though. The acting was really good in my opinion and I thought they constructed the story in such a way that the tension continues to build. The effects looked amazing and the score of the film is fitting for this film. Now I have heard this film has been pretty polarizing so far, but I really did enjoy it. I don’t think this is a great film, but it is definitely interesting and was good in my opinion. I’d recommend checking this out.
My Rating: 8 out of 10