Beowulf and Grendel (film, 2007)


Another take on Beowulf, from Death Ray 09.

FILM: THREE STARS

2005/103mins/15

Director: Sturla Gunnarson

Writer: Andrew Rai Berzins

Starring: Gerard Butler, Stellan Skarsgård, Ingvar Sigurðsson

 

Another version of the classic story, this one from Iceland, out on DVD when .Beowulf the CG movie was released.

 

A substantially different take on the legend, Beowulf and Grendel nevertheless has the same modern need as Beowulf to give reason to Grendel’s violence, and in Beowulf and Grendel, it is an act of revenge.

Gerard Butler’s Beowulf and his men come to Heorot to help Hrothgar (Skårsgard), who’s even more pitiful than in the cinematic offering, and Butler’s hero soon realises that there’s more to the situation than simple murder.

Butler’s Beowulf is a different breed to Winstone’s – scornful of praise rather than boastful, wiser, less headstrong and more dependent on his men. If Winstone’s the superhero version, this is the more realistic portrayal.

A major change to the story is the inclusion of a local Witch, Selma (played by Sarah Polley, whose red wig and Canadian accent stick out a mile), who is a one-woman metaphor for the lot of women in Old Norse society. This, and the attempt to understand Grendel, is clumsy, but otherwise characterisation is generally good, action adequate and the costumes excellent, while the light and scenery of Iceland adds an unusual quality to the movie.

 

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