Valor’s Dawn (2015) – By Misty Layne


Tag Line: A warrior’s deepest wound, a loss too pointed to bear.

It is 50 B.C. A Roman invasion of Celtic lands hangs on the knife’s edge of success as the chieftain Ambiorix (REED CLARE) wages war against the Roman general Eydis. A deadly battlefield blow costs Ambiorix the life of his son, Conall, resulting in the unceasing deterioration of his soul and sanity. In his dying moments he is haunted and fractured as he relives the epic battle with his former adversary and its ignoble acts of brutal savagery and deception. The truth of which may hold the key to Ambiorix’s salvation.

This is the synopsis for Valor’s Dawn but you wouldn’t know all of the above just by watching this short film. What you’ll learn from the film is that there is a father who loves his son and is teaching him to be a great warrior; two factions of warriors seem to be warring; the father loses his son; and at some point the father is quite old and dying. Also there’s cool battle scenes.

This is a gorgeously shot film – shot and produced in Toronto and New York City in multiple locations evoking more ancient and classical settings and architecture. The settings are absolutely amazing and I want to go to there. The costumes are kickass. Ambiorix’s costume is seriously amazing. And I’m no history buff but it looks pretty damn accurate to me. The fight scenes are quite good. Having spent some time in the past training in and performing stage combat, the fight choreography was a lot of fun to see. There were only a couple of moments were it stuttered just a bit but otherwise incredibly cool. The coolest being when Ambiorix and Eydis (I guess?) are fighting and a sword goes flying hilt over end, whistling through the air. It looks and sounds freaking awesome. Also there’s a battle ax. Things are always more fun (and way more dangerous!) with a battle axe!

So overall, Valor’s Dawn is pretty good, at least good to look at, but the story lost me a little. The “man kills the other man’s son, and then the father goes to kill him” bit was easy to follow of course, but when the man is old and dying he’s asking about forgiveness, and I have no idea why (unless he blames himself for his son’s death?). He mentions going to see a “her” to his son at the beginning  no idea who that was as it wasn’t brought up again. Ambiorix and his son go and lay flowers in front of a statue at one point; I assume it was a goddess (maybe Athena? Except that’s not Celtic…) and I would’ve loved to have known more about what they were doing there because it was a strange little insert otherwise (an incredibly beautiful insert but a strange location to just have a random conversation about being a warrior and man). Then there was the final battle between Ambiorix and Eydis where it seemed that Ambiorix was 2 seconds away from dying…but then he’s an old man and dying. No idea how that worked out. He mentions his breastplate so maybe he had a weapon hidden under there? Just small things like this took away from the film so that I left with more questions than answers (but not necessarily questions I care that much about getting answers for). But I definitely didn’t see Ambiorix’s soul and sanity deteriorating or ignoble acts of savagery and deception. It felt like Valor’s Dawn was focused more on the professional fight choreography, lavish costumes and authentic locations, than the actual story.

It’s worth a viewing just for the aesthetics and if you’re a history buff, I imagine you’ll enjoy it. Check it out on Facebook and via the website for more info and photos!