Today's moviegoers may have all the respect in the world for eighth-century Anglo-Saxon poetry, Norse legend, and the tenets of early Christianity, but the real attraction of this irreverent, frequently thrilling epic might be summed up in the observation of an iron-helmeted Geat warrior in hot pursuit of the giant villain: "I tell ya," he says, "this troll must be one tough prick." Thus does Beowulf collide with postmodern punk sensibility -- not just in the name of "relevance," but for the sake of wit. Clearly, Icelandic director Sturla Gunnarsson and Canadian writer Andrew Rai Berzins are as familiar with Monty Python as with Teutonic lit, but they also grapple artfully with moral and historical issues: Their nouveau Beowulf (Gerard Butler) is a man with a conscience, not a stone killer, and their Grendel (Ingvar Sigurdsson) is a monster wronged. All in all, this is good, bloody fun that stirs the intellect whenever it damn well feels like it. With Stellan Skarsgård and Sarah Polley.
Director: Sturla Gunnarsson
Writer: Andrew Rai Berzins
Producer: Michael Cowan, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Eric Jordan and Anna Maria Karlsdottir
Cast: Gerard Butler, Stellan Skarsgard, Sarah Polley, Ingvar E. Sigurdsson, Steinun Olina, Tony Curran, Rory McCann, Ronan Vibert, Martin Delaney and Eddie Marsan