The Northman

The Northman ★★★½

As much as I was very positive about Robert Eggers' first two films, I wasn't as excited as some about The Northman.

I've probably mentioned this before, but for some reason I can just never get enthusiastic about this sort of medieval, sword-y, muddy, rapey, witchcraft-y stuff and I never have. I rarely hate it when I do watch it but I almost have to drag myself to watch it. I really only went to the cinema to see this yesterday because I was very tired and knew I wasn't going to get much work done anyway.

So the odds were that I was not going to love this or enjoy it anywhere near as much as The Witch and The Lighthouse, and I enjoyed it about as much as I think I was ever going to. My rating reflects that, it's going to take something utterly mindblowing to get more than that and I don't think The Northman ever achieved that. It's as weird as I'd expect from Eggers at times and visually it's clearly incredible. Here's a rare recent film where you can see where the money went, and it's a relief to see a studio prepared to pay so much for such a huge, often bizarre film that was unlikely to ever make that money back.

In terms of story and action, it's just as expected. Maybe that's my issue with this sort of thing, they all seem to tell more or less the same story. It does one or two interesting things with character and the way it ultimately plays out suggests that Nicole Kidman is not an antagonist by any means, but it never really goes full force for those ideas. It felt long, too, but just held me off from falling asleep by the fact there always seemed to be something happening.

Nobody could seem to settle on a common accent, which was a distraction, but I didn't much care. The Northman does what I expected but whether I'm apathetic about these sorts of stories or not, I'm not convinced there's a whole lot more here than what I saw.

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🇵🇱 Steve G liked this review