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reviews

54
Based on 8 Reviews
critic reviews (8)
fan reviews ( 3 )
  • 75
    Kyle Smith New York Post

    Essentially amounts to an extended interview with a psycho, fleshed out with background material that, while suitably shocking, is not always illuminating or even frank. The film is curiously shy about calling Varg what he is: a Nazi. show more

  • 50
    Stephen Cole The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Contains fascinating footage – material from the 1980s that looks to be the work of angry, ancient Norse warriors. There is, however, almost no perspective here. Perhaps the filmmakers succumbed to a condition associated with a city east of Oslo – the Stockholm Syndrome. show more

  • 38
    Joan Anderman Boston Globe

    Talking heads are overused in documentaries, but in this case a dose of perspective, a point of view or two, would have a gone a long way toward turning a pageant of unreliable voices and morbid images into a portrait of the artists and their deadly scene as something more than misunderstood. show more

  • 60
    Time Out New York

    Plainspoken music doc relies on firsthand testimony from band members and key observers. show more

  • 70
    Andrew O'Hehir Salon.com

    As crafty and compelling as Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell's Until the Light Takes Us is, it may go too far in its understandable desire to correct the bias and prejudice of mainstream journalism. show more

  • 60
    The New York Times

    Absorbing, low-key documentary. show more

  • 50
    Village Voice

    One artist favorably compares the homemade metal scene to state-supported "mediocre cultural activity"--as good a designation as any for Until the Light Takes Us. show more

  • 40
    Variety

    Stylistic overreach and neglect of the uninitiated make Until the Light Takes Us a too-specialized examination of Norway's black-metal movement and the aberrant culture surrounding it. show more

  • March 31, 2011 untilaaron
    Report This User

    What is so compelling and so hard to ignore is the deep undercurrent of sadness in UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US, the unmistakable sense of loss. It’s a film that will stick with you in the most unshakeable of ways, black metal fan or not. http://gordonandthewhale.com/theatrical-review-until-the-light-takes-us&#04

  • March 31, 2011 BillyChainsaw666
    Report This User

    Murder! Arson! Mayhem! Welcome to the dark world of black metal music, unveiled here in a riveting, low-budget documentary by US filmmakers Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell. For those not conversant with the movement: in the early 1990s a group of anti-authoritarian Norwegian youths deconstructed traditional metal music to create a noise so ******************** like it was spawned in the bowels of Hell. Ironic then that whatever musical integrity its protagonists possessed was overshadowed by an orgy of suicide, slaughter, church burning and media allegations of Satanism. To examine the much maligned and misunderstood principles that led to the said individuals’ revolt against modern society, Aites and Ewell relocated to Norway and lived with some of them for two years. Focusing on three key players – Dead, from the pioneering Mayhem (who lived up to his name by blowing his brains out); Burzum’s Varg Vikernes AKA Count Grishnackh (who was convicted for murdering Mayhem’s Øystein Aarseth AKA Euronymous); and Darkthrone’s Gylve Nagell AKA Fenriz (who serves as the pair’s tour guide) – their findings form an intimate, yet ambivalent portrait of a subculture seemingly doomed from its inception. While Aites and Ewell present a historical overview, they also illustrate how black metal has mutated and been embraced as art: for example, the tap-dancing footage of film director and all-round black metal nut Harmony Korine (Gummo) is unbelievable. The flick’s ultimate cherry though, comes courtesy of the camera-wielding duo gaining access to the then incarcerated (subsequently released) Vikernes, who unremorsefully recollects the events that got him slammed up. Ultimately, this is a brilliant example of minimalist storytelling that will appeal to those of a morbid disposition&#04

  • March 30, 2011 Prince Smacky
    Report This User

    Until The Light Takes Us documents the rise in popularity of Norwegian black metal and death metal in the early 90s. Based loosely around two instrumental band members of Darkthrone, the film peeks into the origins but focuses heavily on the cultural aspect that, politically, turned the country into a frenzy. While never really skewing one way or another, Until The Light peers into the somewhat torn soul of Fenriz, who focuses all his energy and passion on the music he creates. Throughout the film, we come to understand that Fenriz lives for the music and get the impression that he struggled greatly with the political leanings of Varg Vikernes of Burzum, who was sentenced to prison in 1993 for 21 years after being convicted of murder and several counts of arson. Though each person in the film took a different stance on the events that took place in the early years of the genre, the two most poignant are those of the characters noted above. Fenriz lives for the music, while Varg rarely discusses music and focuses instead on the cultural destruction brought by mass chains, religion, and the Christian faith. As he describes his incarceration, and what brought him there, we get a glimpse inside his soul. There isn’t remorse, per se, at least when it comes to arson — though he never fully admits to the crime. And the same can be said for the murder he committed, though he described it, nonchalantly, as more self-defense than a premeditated act. Both Fenriz and Varg are shown as quite intelligent, and in the case of the latter very philosophical. While Fenriz continues to record under the Darkthrone project, Varg recorded two albums in prison before ending his project based on what he considered an ignorant fan-base — one that associated his music with Satanism. Still, Varg’s dark side shows in his association with Neo-Nazis during the 90s (although it isn’t discussed in the film). Overall, the only truly likable individual interviewed at length is Fenriz. Throughout Until The Light Takes Us, the viewer is given a look into a few vastly different worlds of the culture. One is pure and creative (Darkthrone and visual artist Bjarne Melgaard), another is wild and self-destructive, and the third is culturally and politically motivated. It will have you on the edge of your seat — a viable feat for a documentary. Now, I don’t necessarily go out of my way to seek black metal groups or metal in general, but that doesn’t stop me from highly recommending this film. It’s a fascinating glimpse inside a riveting subculture. And it’s a reminder that something on the fringes of the norm can start pure only to be exploited, tarnished, and blown out of proportion based on the acts of a few. This is a film not for the music fan, but for the cultural junkie – the person who loves to take a sociological peek into a cultural subset to see how it works and moves, expands and contracts; to see how it becomes a living, breathing organism. -http://www.fensepost&#04

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