~findlay’s review published on Letterboxd:
what i appreciate about this is that its not asking the audience to understand, or even believe in the mythology/nature of this in a traditional sense. Its literally framed and shown in a way that says:
"this is this character within this world, within these pages. This is the world he believes in, this is as real and visceral to him as your world is to you".
i think once i cracked that, I started falling in love with the fluidity of the folklore and mysticism. fragmented and headspinning, like walking through the halls of a museum and reading plaques, half restored tomes rescued from fires, family trees designed onto swords, jewellery with a date in the future on it trapped in ice. An exhibit of brutish journeys and the ethereal mysteries of things like speaking to volcanoes to find their last flower blooming that can provide the name of a blacksmith.
I think alot of what Eggers is getting at (particularly at the repeatedly macking, chopping violence) is the futility of bloodlines and the monarchies that made up our past and still present. whats to save? line after line of bloodshed and anguish and death, for what?
a son? a daughter? a name, even? the ends of the earth must burn and be doused so that your child can do it again in 20 years?
his creations are again, meticulous, weird and driven in texture and tacit visuals of being poisoned by dancing in the moonlight too long but The Northman feels so compromised. The big budget entry into wider audiences means that the condensed phantasmic potential of this is tied to the ground at points with actual story and reams of bad dialogue to make sure we all know whats going on. we dont care! i want this guys journey into the gates of hell to be fucking weird and ritualistic, not literal and mortal! really blows the whole thing and makes the runtime hurt like hell.
i think its a misfire to be honest but my god do i respect it for being so strange when it gets to be. so funny that this is playing in Cineworld, considering the density of the sound design will probably fucking unscrew half the lights in multiplexes across the uk.