The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

"This twisted spirit will ride again... It wields a thirsty blade."

The Northman is a beautiful, cleverly shot, and intensely atmospheric Nordic death metal reimagining of our most famous saga of a young prince seeking revenge against his usurper uncle: The Lion King.

Bobby Eggs you son of a bitch you done did it again! My guy is 3/3 out the gate and I am here for it. I've seen every one of his movies on opening night and The Northman gave me no reason to change that. Turns out he's as adept at directing action sequences as he is with sex scenes with anatomically correct mermaids. There's no shortage of the kind of "fuck yeah" moments you want in a blood revenge epic.

Anya Taylor-Joy is compelling and fierce, elevating a role that might have been forgettable in lesser hands. Claes Bang has the black eyes (like a doll's eyes...) of a killer shark but conveys more complexity than I expected his character to have. While Alexander Skarsgård is capable, he isn't asked to do too much besides be carved out of granite and look willing to tear your throat out with his teeth - but he handles that with aplomb. His Mount Fagradalsfjall-sized traps are mesmerizing.

My only real nit to pick is that it wasn't quite as weird as I'd hoped. It's certainly weird at times with a smattering of incest and culminating in a fully nude swordfight on top of a volcano, but I feel like it pulled its punches slightly in that department. On the other hand, I appreciate that Eggers is aiming for a wider audience while still casting Bjork as an eyeless witch. It's Eggers' most accessible movie by far, and that really shouldn't be a negative. I guess I could have just used a touch more nose trauma.

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