Biopic: Lords of Chaos

Bryce Delp, Staffer

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Lords of Chaos is a 2019 bioepic surrounding the Norwegian black metal scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Rory Culkin, brother of Macaulay Culkin, portrays young Norwegian guitarist Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth. Euronymous creates his band, Mayhem, and is determined to become well known in the metal community. However, as he and other bands try to gain publicity, things get taken too far.

As a fan of the bands that inspired this movie, I have some strong opinions of it. While many major aspects of the film are accurate, there are many inaccuracies that have been pointed out by the artists. Few of them truly bothered me when viewing the movie, as I was not expecting decades of history to be packed into a 2 hour film. For example, it completely skips over Mayhem’s first demo and EP that got them noticed. My main issue with the story is the character of Varg Vikernes. His character is easily the most flawed out of any of them, as it depicts him as a nobody who would have never been famous without Euronymous, though in reality he already had a foothold within the metal community at the time this movie is set. Another thing that bothered me is that the movie tries very hard to feel like Norway, though all but 2 characters speak with American accents.

As for the filmmaking, I have to give credit where it was due. Lords of Chaos had some excellently shot scenes. The first of which that I noticed was Mayhem’s concert with their new singer, Per “Dead” Ohlin. The atmosphere is captured very well and I genuinely enjoyed that scene. The scenes detailing the brutal happenings are hard to watch, but at the same time I couldn’t keep my eyes away to see what happens next. Scenes such as Varg’s church burnings show the lengths he was willing to go to be talked about and promote his anti-Christian agenda, as well as great fire effects. As for the acting, certain parts came off as bland. However, the highlight of the acting comes during Euronymous and Varg’s final confrontation. I won’t spoil what happens, but it’s an infamous moment in history that I think was excellently portrayed.

Overall, I think Lords of Chaos serves as a good movie showing how the Norwegian metal scene spiraled out of control. Though die-hard metal fans might have issues with this film, it serves as an excellent introduction to the events that transpired for those who do not know the story.

Four out of five feather rating.

Cardinal Chronicle
Four out of five feather rating.