The Northman

The Northman ★★★★½

Robert Eggers' movies are the closest we have to a time machine, due to his reportedly fastidious adherence to ancient language, rituals, and period recreations. The Northman is a bloodthirsty savage epic that plays as if Hamlet was a Viking saga (its hero is named Amleth, and apparently Hamlet is inspired by a Scandanavian tale), crossbred with cues from Conan the Barbarian, and takes place in a world without delineation between folklore and what is real. Every aspect of the production is geared toward total immersion and is photographed largely with real-time, single-take shots (though not as conspicuously so, as with the also stellar 1917). Viking language and culture delivered as such can make the viewer feel a bit like they've been plunked down on a barbaric, cold alien planet, but also serves as a reminder that what motivates the human species is largely unchanged throughout time.

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