MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “The Nortman” stars Alexander Skarsgard (The Legend of Tarzan, The Giver ), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos, The Others ), Claes Bang (The Square, The Burnt Orange Heresy), Ethan Hawke (The Magnificent Seven , Dead Poets Society), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Glass), Gustav Lindh (Queen of Hearts, Orca), Elliott Rose (Milk ), and Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). It is directed by Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse, The Witch), who wrote the screenplay with Sjón (Lamb, Klara: The Medium).
Amleth (Skarsgard), a young viking, seeks revenge on the man who murdered his kingly father and took his mother for a wife.
My one word to describe this film? Visceral.
The legendary Robert Eggers returns with a cinematic feat in “The Northman.” Laden with rich visuals, brutal performances, and a vengeance story fitting for a king, this movie is something worth going to the theaters to see. I’m sure glad I did, as it’s adding to the list of top quality pictures to come out of 2022.
In this journey, we follow a man seeking revenge on his uncle for murdering his father and taking his mother to be his bride. It’s sort of like “The Lion King” (with splashes of “Gladiator” as well), but way more harsh. The backdrop is 800 AD, set in the realm of Vikings who rape and pillage for the sake of their gods and the gates of Valhalla. It’s almost unforgiving in visuals, as there are many scenes that depict such travesty that one can’t help but feel uneasy. My mouth was agape for quite a few moments, as Eggers and his team made it seem all too real.
The performances in this are a triumph. With dialogue that’s old English, it isn’t an easy feat to perform, and the cast assembled for this project are heavy hitters. Alexander Skarsgard is awesome. No question about it. From his delivery to his ripped body, this guy gets the job done from start to finish. The supporting characters that stand alongside him are also great, from Ethan Hawke to Nicole Kidman to Anya Taylor-Joy to Claes Bang to Willem Dafoe. My goodness, these people are stellar. Dafoe was whacked out of his noggin, Hawke gave one of his best in a while, and Kidman as well.
I don’t know how Eggers does it. The landscapes are immersive and the cinematography led to multiple moments that gave me chills. What works about “The Northman” especially is how it’s Eggers’ most straightforward work. It’s a storyline that almost everyone could follow (though with splashes of your usual weird/abstract visuals and moments) and a hero that we can root for. And though it’s a tale that has been done many times before, Eggers at least twists it in a way to make it somewhat different (by giving us no perfect character).
“The Northman” is a cinematic experience worth seeing. I enjoyed watching it thoroughly, with plenty of chilling and jaw-dropping moments to leave a lasting impression. Do I think it’s his best? Overall, yes. But I will say that when it comes to style, I might still choose “The Lighthouse.” Regardless, please watch this movie if you are into this filmmaker or the genre itself. FINAL SCORE: 93%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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