On that note, Varg’s extreme politics, like his genuine Nazism, are heavily watered down in a deliberate attempt to not be too offensive. Basically, it’s a film made by people who know nothing about black metal based on a book by people who weren’t there for people who care little about what it all meant and just want to see arson and stabbings.
“…why not use the events as a basis for a fictional story…”
As for the acting, Culkin gives a decent performance as Euronymous, though with little actual footage to go on, it’s difficult to judge how well he captured the guitarist’s mannerisms. Unfortunately, he annoyingly narrates through the entire film like a smug, entitled teenager, causing a drastic plummet in his likeability. Cohen’s Vikernes is way off, played like a sleazy, whining moron. As detestable and batshit crazy as Varg is, he is none of those things, and the real man is far more dangerous than this caricature lets on. Most disappointingly, Kilmer’s Dead is reduced to the anecdotes of his “weirdness” without ever eliciting his truly sorrowful essence, perhaps captured best in a sad smile at the beginning of a band rehearsal video.
Of course, the argument can be made that a film is a work of art, which grants extended artistic license. Fine, then why not use the events as a basis for a fictional story rather than deliver unabashed inaccuracy in the name of art? The consequences can be drastic. You know that story about people thinking the Earth was flat when Columbus sailed to the new world? Not true. Washington Irving made it up to create drama in his historical novel The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, and now it’s taught in school. Think about that the next time you’ve taken in by a biopic.
Lords of Chaos (2019) Directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Written by Dennis Magnusson and Jonas Åkerlund. Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, Jon Øigarden, Valter Skarsgård, Anthony De La Torre and Wilson Gonzalez.
3 out of 10 stars