The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

„ I will avenge you, father! I will save you, mother! I will kill you, Fjölnir!“

After his great debut film and his equally grandiose second film, Robert Eggers is now coming back with his certainly most conventional film so far. Because this time Eggers is given a considerably larger budget than with his two previous films. Unfortunately, it doesn't look very good for the movie at the box office at the moment, but nevertheless everyone who liked The Witch or The Lighthouse will also love this movie, because at least that's how I felt.

As well as Eggers' previous films, The Northman also lives from its atmosphere, which is also captivating, merciless and engaging and immediately captivates the viewer. But while Egger's previous films were more about crashing into the abyss, into chaos, the Northman focuses on rough, merciless and brutal violence. People are beheaded, pierced or impaled so that the blood splashes and the intestines no longer remain in their actual place. This depiction of brute force may not be suitable for everyone, but It is without a doubt damn captivating.
For the first time, you also get real action and fight scenes in Egger's works, all of which were simply brilliantly staged. These sequences do not happen without reason, but are always justified by the drive of the figures.

If you have already seen The Witch or The Northman, you will probably know that Robert Eggers also incorporates supernatural elements into his films. The same applies to his latest film. Because if you only expect a viking revenge story, you will definitely be surprised when talking skulls, seers or nordic deities become a topic. The boundaries between reality and delusion are rather fluid such as in The Lighthouse. In this way, the viewer can practically form an opinion on how these supernatural elements only reflect visions or actually reality. Eggers said that what fascinates him about cultures and the past is that the mythological and real world are the same. So people believed that these supernatural things were real and so they are practically real.

As is typical of Eggers, the pictures in this film are also just beautiful. So that you could take a screenshot with every setting and then hang it on the wall. Due to the filming locations in Ireland and Iceland, this once again ensures beautiful landscapes, which then come to light even more through the elaborate production design.
The entire camera work is also extremely successful. With many long camera movements which follow Alexander Skarsgård and the remaining vikings through the battle with only a few cuts. Which simply ensures that you are in the middle of the action yourself.

Of course, it is also part of an Eggers film in a way that a lot of work has been put into this film so that it is told as accurately and true to detail as possible. Of course, many will not notice this directly, as will I do, but as with Egger's previous films, the elaborate work behind it can definitely be felt. The film is based on the ancient danish Amletus legend, which already served as a template for Hamlet. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the story basically seems very familiar or that the main character is called Amleth.
But in general the team behind the film has familiarized itself with various ethnologies and the world of the Vikings in the time in which the film takes place. Many experts have helped with production and many historical facts have also been incorporated, but above all you can tell from the whole sets where the budget has gone. Because with the help of an archaeologist, the villages, houses, settlements and also the ships from this period have been faithfully recreated. In the same way, the entire costumes are based on historical models. Therefore, for example, there are no horns on the viking helmets. Of course, the dialogues are also historically accurate again, whereby many linguistic practices are expressed.
But a lot of thought has also been given to the musical entertainment. Many medieval instruments were used that further underline the world of the vikings.

As usual in a film by Robert Eggers, the actors are also challenged in The Northman and all do their best. First and foremost, of course, Alexander Skarsgård, who literally looks like an animal beast in this film. After all, his soul animal in the film is a bear and a wolf and this is undoubtedly perfectly reflected in Alexander Skarsgård's brrachiality. It is not without reason that he trained a lot for the role in advance and ate five meals a day. But not only physically he gave everything for his role but definitely also in his acting, because he delivers a really grandiose and completely convincing performance. Of course, the same applies to the rest of the cast, with many big names. Ethan Hawke as the protagonist's father doesn't have many scenes, but in these few scenes he is absolutely convincing. The same applies to Willem Dafoe, who, as always, simply delivers an outstanding performance in his few scenes. Nicole Kidman also appears in a slightly larger role and she also shows her skills in this film, especially in a scene with Alexander Skarsgård in which she completely outshines him. But as in The Witch, Anya Taylor-Joy is back and also delivers a great performance. In contrast to Alexander Skarsgård, she seems small and vulnerable, but is in a way just as merciless as Alexander Skarsgård,

So overall, Robert Eggers has once again managed to create an absolutely outstanding film that is simply breathtaking in so many aspects. However, I have to say that of Egger's three films this one has least appealed to me. The film is still absolutely brilliant, but in comparison I would prefer his other two works. Nevertheless, The Northman has succeeded extraordinarily well in every aspect. Whether you are talking about the beautiful pictures, the outstanding actors, the raw depictions of violence with the flowing boundaries between reality and the supernatural or of the historical accuracy that comes to the climax here again, one thing is clear, the film combines all these aspects and offers us an unforgettable movie experience.

My 2022 ranking -Here
My review of The Lighthouse -Here

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