Film that was based on the Michael Crichton book Eaters of the Dead where an Arab courtier is force to become and ambassador to the northern nations. It was banishment for having looked at another mans wife at court and maybe more. So he was sent north which would probably lead to his doom and death. He has only Melchisidek (Omar Sharif), a friend of the family and his wits to keep him alive. For any that are interested in period films and films of the Viking and Norse cultures this is a film that you are going to enjoy. For others you might find it a bit hard to get into as there is a lot of story telling to go though to set things up for the action and fighting parts of the film. If you do make it through those you are going to be in for one hell of a ride with this film.
Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan, Ebin played by Antonio Banderas has just had a run in or shall we say a run away from the Tartars. The only thing that stops them is that they have made it to a Norse encampment and the Tartars don’t want to have anything to do with them. Ahmed and the caravan that he is traveling with have shown up on the eve of a funeral for a Norse king. They show up as there is a feast in the past kings honor and nor heir has been chosen as of yet. When asked to say a poem and everyone is listening to Ahmed a sibling tried to kill off the older brother which is struck down just as quickly. Buliwyf (Vladimir Kulich) blocks the attack and slices open his brothers chest killing him instantly. He is now chief and king of his clan and the true feasting begins as a new leader is celebrated and an old one is mourned and honored.
It is the same night that the old leader is laid to rest in traditional Viking fashion. He is his still live bride are put on a ship and set on fire to go together into the afterlife and the halls of Valhalla. Ahmed is told that he will not see this again as this is the old way that is fading away. The scene he sees is reflected in the horror of the situation on his face. You can see how he thinks that these men are madmen and truly godless. It is not till much later that he finds out and realizes that they very much believe in gods just not the only one that he believes in and worships.
During the following day he sees a ship that has moored to the shore with a boy standing at the bow of the longboat waiting to be seen. The lad, Wulfgar (Bjørn Ove Pedersen) is a son of King Hrothgar (Sven Wollter) and has come to ask for help as their lands have been plagued by what they say are sprits from the mist that are always proceeded by a fire wyrm or dragon. They have no way to fight this as most of their men of fighting age are dead or gone and they are seeking help anywhere they can find it. It is then that Buliwyf calls for the Angle of Death, their oracle, to divine what needs to be done. She throws the bones and declares that 13 warriors must be sent to aid them. The first is Buliwyf himself and then other chime in to take their place. Just before the 13th can say their name the old woman declares that the 13th warrior can be no Northman but must be a stranger to the lands instead. Ahmed is to be The 13th Warrior.
This film is fascinating to watch and a great film for couples to see. As with all of Michael Crichton stories this one is full of mystery and suspense. You never know till over half way though exactly what it is that they are fighting. This is a film that will stick with you, it doesn’t matter if you like the film or not. You will not get it easily out of you head. For those that love history and the thrill of a mystery then you will love this film and the attention to detail that they used while making it.
I give this film a Musing review of