The Northman

The Northman ★★★

platonic ideal viking aesthetics with drab, polished craft and a marvel movie's plotting. a movie made for a trailer. very uninteresting because there's nothing going on aside from pg-13 (with a few notable exceptions) violence in weightless long takes. prime example of what went wrong here is the interstitial title cards being the only way to identify they've changed locations, and that lack of scope/sense of place is tough for an epic. i obviously recognize the intent behind situating skarsgard as an empty vessel devoid of any character that isn't revenge-seeking; unfortunately, that does not make him intriguing. if you are trying to make me feel bad for rooting for a protagonist doing cool but bad shit, it sure is weird that the guy just kinda blankly stares as much of said bad shit happens around him. in fact, i think this is an explicit example of eggers' intentions failing. lean into it more! say what you will about the witch or the lighthouse, there was at least a discernible vision, however narrow. with the northman, you see text as if written on the screen and await the precious little runtime devoted to the more farcical, surrealist elements to break the monotony. speaking of, i did like the fart. i don't know if eggers has earned such a benefit of the doubt, but i would like to see his original cut of this to determine if the fill-in-the-blank nature was studio-mandated (though reading through kevin's review suggests the longer cut may not have helped). all that said, i am not immune to atj's butt, and the film is indeed often “sick", as findley has said. the nordic history/mythology is great, just wish there was more of it.

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