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Movie Review

Release Date: 04/22/22
Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama

Studio: Focus Features


"From visionary director Robert Eggers comes The Northman, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father's murder."


Going into Robert Eggers’ The Northman I had mixed expectations. I wasn’t a fan of The Witch in any regard, and never got around to watching The Lighthouse, but the trailer for The Northman appeared to be a viking revenge story worth experiencing. So with a history of disappointment from Eggers, I was delighted to come out of the film with a literal loss for words. It’s brutal, gruesome, grotesque, disturbing, and an epic triumph in all regards. 


While visually daunting, Eggers has managed a phenomenal feat by making a Viking film naysayer such as myself regard the film as something of interest. Through viewing interviews with the director, he clearly has a passion for every subject matter he decides to capture, and with The Northman it is all very pure and true to the lore of the time. Eggers has a distinct style to his direction, taking a gray and grim undertone to the entirety of the film, with brief moments of striking color; with this particular setting, it’s a wonderful cinematic choice. Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke is able to replicate the claustrophobic closeups from his previous efforts with Eggers while also rising to the opportunities an epic like this is able to offer. The scenery is angelic at times, claustrophobic at others, and a true nightmare when necessary. 


The cast Eggers surrounds himself with are all tremendous in their performances. Alexander Skarsgård (Amleth), Anya Taylor-Joy (Olga of the Birch Forest), Claes Bang (Fjölnir the Brotherless), Ethan Hawke (King Aurvandil War-Raven), Nicole Kidman (Queen Gudrún), and Willem Dafoe (Heimir the Fool) all deliver award worthy performances that unfortunately, more likely than not, won’t be recognized by the awards circuit (but in our hearts, they will have won). With such a loaded cast, Skarsgård manages to elevate his performance above all else to be a true protagonist worth rooting for and observing as he takes his journey towards destiny. 


The Northman is a masterful effort from director Robert Eggers, as he surrounds his work with phenomenal performances and haunting visuals. Alexander Skarsgård stuns, and his vengeance is all so sweet in its maniacal, fate-laced nature.

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