‘The Northman‘ is a Viking fantasy film directed by Robert Eggers, who co-wrote it with Icelandic author Sjón. It is based on the Scandinavian legend of Amleth and was released by Focus Features. While its theatrical release was tepid, it has had success on video-on-demand.
King Aurvandill War-Raven (Ethan Hawke) returns to his castle in AD 895. He greets his wife Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) and young son Amleth (Oscar Novak). Following a ceremony with Heimir the Fool (Willem Dafoe), the King is murdered by his brother Fjölnir (Claes Bang). Amleth escapes and vows revenge. Years later, an adult Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) is a berserker in the land of Rus. When he hears his uncle had to flee to Iceland, he sets his plan for revenge in motion. He joins a group of slaves heading there and meets Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), an Earth sorceress. When he arrives, his uncle and mother, who are now married, do not recognize him. Amluth eventually gets his hands on a magic sword that can only be drawn at night or at the “gates of Hel.” He soon begins haunting the village to get revenge on the man who took everything from him.
I will not sugarcoat this. The violence is brutal. It is bloody and often gory. It does not hold back on the historical savagery that the Vikings engaged in, so be conscious of this as you go into it.
With this in mind, I thoroughly enjoyed it. You do not often see Viking mythology explored outside of Thor when it comes to cinema. That made it seem unique, especially amongst all of the Hollywood sequels, reboots, and remakes. It stood out and definitely deserves to be noted.
Its plot was enthralling. You are pulled into the quest of Amluth as he marches to revenge. You feel his pain, his anger, and the desire to make success for himself. I cannot say I “enjoyed” it similar to a comedy or a drama, I never once checked my phone while I was watching it. I was completely tuned in.
The amazing performances from the cast only helped to accentuate it. I can honestly say all of the cast did a stellar job, especially the child stars. Skarsgård was fantastic and he really brought out all of the facets of the character. And of course, Anya Taylor-Joy was brilliant. She is such a good actress and her talent shines in this flick.
I do want to mention the soundtrack. Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough do an excellent job with the film score as the music captures both the action, plot, and time period it is representing. That being said, at times, it was a bit intrusive. It would play so loud at various scenes it was difficult to hear what was happening on screen.
Bottom line, The Northman is a story of brutal revenge that pulls you into its story from beginning to end. The performances, plot, and the action makes it to be a great film.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Sexual content, Strong bloody violence, Gore, Some foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: At the gates of Hel, you will find me.
Check out the trailer below:
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