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  • Summary: Until The Light Takes Us tells the story of black metal. Part music scene and part cultural uprising, black metal rose to worldwide notoriety in the mid-nineties when a rash of suicides, murders, and church burnings accompanied the explosive artistic growth and output of a music scene that would forever redefine what heavy metal is and what it stands for to other musicians, artists and music fans worldwide. Until The Light Takes Us goes behind the highly sensationalized media reports of "Satanists
    running amok in Europe" to examine the complex and largely misunderstood principles and beliefs that
    led to this rebellion against both Christianity and modern culture. To capture this on film, directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell moved to Norway and lived with the musicians for several years, building relationships that allowed them to create a surprisingly intimate portrait of this violent, but ultimately misunderstood, movement. The result is a poignant, moving story that’s as much about the idea that reality is composed of whatever the most people believe, regardless of what’s actually true, as it is about a music scene that blazed a path of murder and arson across the northern sky. (Variance Film)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. 75
    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.
  2. 70
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Smith
    60
    Plainspoken music doc relies on firsthand testimony from band members and key observers.
  4. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    50
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    40
    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.
  7. 38
    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.

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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
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