The Northman

The Northman ★★★★★


The Northman was my 2nd most anticipated release of 2022 for 3 reasons

1. The cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman (we’ll get to her soon/Big Little Lies reunion with these two), Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy (The VVitch reunion), Ethan Hawke, Björk (Who doesn’t need an introduction and hardly does movies!!) & Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse reunion). This is hands down the best ensemble Robert Eggers has ever had in his career so far. 

2. Robert Eggers: I think he’s one of the best new current directors working today. I enjoyed The VVitch when I first saw this back in 2018. There’s a lot to admire about that movie but he stepped his game up with The Lighthouse which I absolutely loved, and ended up being on my best of 2019 list. Was also happy and thankful to have experienced this in theaters with 2 of my friends. Would’ve loved to have seen The Northman with these same 2 friends but that didn’t happen which was ok, at least we saw Uncut Gems that same year. Eggers doing a Viking revenge epic with the aforementioned stacked cast was more than enough for me to be excited. 

3. Nicole Kidman: For those who know me, this shouldn’t be a surprise since she’s my favorite actress/overall actor. The Northman was the return of Nicole on the big screen since Bombshell. This also became the 5th movie of hers that I’ve seen in theaters after Happy Feet, Boy Erased, Aquaman & Destroyer. She had been working with numerous streaming services prior, doing miniseries/shows for HBO/Hulu (The Undoing/Nine Perfect Strangers), Apple TV+ (Roar) & movies that went to Netflix/Amazon Prime (The Prom/Being the Ricardos). The latter of which she received her 5th Oscar nomination and proved the doubters wrong who were skeptical of Nic playing the role of Lucille Ball just because she didn’t fit the appearance. And of course, if you’ve been to an AMC theatre since September, you’ve seen her before the start of every movie telling us that heartbreak feels good in a place like this with that iconic ad of hers which eventually took the internet by storm. Long story short, if you put this Australian queen in something, I’ll be there to watch.

I’ve been waiting 2 years to see what Robert Eggers has made and today I finally got the chance to watch it at my AMC (wore my Nicole Kidman AMC ad shirt, of course) in Dolby and I’m happy to report that he’s 3/3. I absolutely loved The Northman, this was Hamlet meets The Revenant, truly lived up to the hype and I was riveted from start to finish; seeing it in Dolby enhanced the experience! Robert Eggers was given a $70 million budget which was bigger than his last two movies combined ($4 million and $11 million) and took full advantage. The production design, cinematography, costumes, action, brutality, and visual look were amazing and I especially loved how they filmed this in Ireland because of the scenery. 

All of the performances were top-notch but the standouts were from Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, and Anya Taylor-Joy. I honestly didn’t think Skarsgård was going to top his performance as Perry Wright from Big Little Lies but it did. He went full beast mode as Amleth as he was trying to avenge his father, save his mother and kill Fjölnir. I don’t think I’ve seen someone go on such a torrid stretch as Amleth did since LeBron James single-handedly carried the Cavaliers to the 2018 NBA Finals. Claes Bang as Fjölnir was such a great villain as he played this character with such menace and awe. Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Björk in their limited amount of screentime were able to give us some cool moments, especially the last two given who they played. Anya Taylor-Joy who’s pretty much Robert Eggers’ muse was once again amazing and I hope they keep working together. This was one of her best performances in what’s already a promising and exciting career. 

And last but certainly not least, Nicole Kidman was amazing as Queen Gudrún and ended up being the MVP. She was essentially a combination of Queen Atlanna/Evelyn Stoker and a very complicated queen with an interesting wig. This was her best performance since Season 2 of Big Little Lies, film-wise since Destroyer (which funny enough was the last movie of hers that I saw in theaters). Kidman mostly shows up in the first and last acts but the latter in particular is where she shines. She gave an unforgettable monologue (not surprised since she’s a queen at doing this) that absolutely floored me because of what happened and it hasn’t left my mind. When the reviews first came out, this scene was being hyped and they weren’t kidding because this monologue was on the same level as the ones she gave in Eyes Wide Shut, To Die For & Stoker. No wonder you didn’t get much from her in the trailers. This was unhinged Nicole Kidman and you can make the case that one scene alone was better than her prior performances post-BLL Season 2/Destroyer which were Mrs. Barbour, Gretchen Carlson, Grace Fraser, Angie Dickinson, Masha Dmitrichenko, and even her Oscar-nominated portrayal of Lucille Ball. Thank God for Alexander Skarsgård telling Robert Eggers that she was the only choice to play Queen Gudrún because it paid off big time despite this being somewhat awkward since they were a toxic couple in Big Little Lies. As a Kidmaniac, seeing her get all this praise was very satisfying because most of the fandom had to defend what was a great, not amazing performance from her in Being the Ricardos. I love Nicole Kidman so much and she once again showed audiences why I consider her to be my favorite actress. It was also funny seeing double the NK with her ad and the movie itself. 

Overall, I’m so happy that The Northman lived up to my expectations and that I got the chance to watch it on the big screen as it was intended. This became my second favorite from Robert Eggers, almost my favorite and it’s probably his most accessible work despite getting some of his trademarks. I absolutely recommend checking out The Northman, I think it’s worth the time and it’s truly a shame that this didn’t do well at the box office. Whatever Robert Eggers does next, you best believe I’ll be there to support. Conquering your fate did in fact, feel good in a place like this

Christian Cortave liked these reviews