The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

Robert Eggers is 3 for 3 as far as I’m concerned. The Northman your classic revenge tale elevated by its excellent performances, gorgeous cinematography, and ever-so-impressive filmmaking. This film is graphic, brutal, uncompromising, and it’s all the better for it. Everything from the slow, atmospheric opening to the scream-fueled finale serves for a wholly satisfying and memorable film experience. What surprised me most I think is the humor; this film is surprisingly quite funny at times and while not every moment worked for me, they served as nice tension-relievers and mostly always played into the explosive machismo that comes along with the world. 

Unfortunately, there are a few moments here and there that stick out like a sore thumb and I’m more than willing to bet that they’re reshoots and studio requests. One moment has Amleth (played fiercely by Skarsgård) squatting on top of a roof awkwardly reciting his motivations and plans into the unknown and while these proclamatory monologues would otherwise work in this style of storytelling, and most of them do in the film, this one clearly came across as a “this test audience didn’t know what was happening, so let’s just literally tell everyone without showing it” and it was quite distracting.

That being said, the film is grand, epic, imaginative, and unflinchingly violent. It’s essentially Robert Eggers’ big budget attire and it’s glorious. Two things though: I would absolutely love a director’s cut at some point and I would love for one of the bonus features to be entirely dedicated to Björk and how Eggers convinced her to act in another film again.

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