The Northman

The Northman ★★★½

The first movie I've seen in theaters since the pandemic started and since I had a baby! No subtitles, couldn't pause, it would've been too weird to take off my shoes. It's hard to reacclimate.

I had noisy neighbors too, but I mostly wasn't bothered by them: there was so much screaming in the movie that it drowned everyone out. This movie is so hypermasculine. I identified much more with the random townsfolk getting sliced apart than with the barbarians. The movie's pretty good at challenging your allegiances; sometimes you feel on Amleth's side and sometimes he's an evil idiot.

Eggers has now settled pretty cozily into his genre of olde timey sorcery. His filmography is an anthropology course on folk mysticism. And there are always malicious birds. My big disappointment is that the language, though clearly historically-informed, isn't nearly as playful as in The VVitch or The Lighthouse. That was always my favorite thing about Eggers. There's nothing here as eternally quotable as "Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?" or "Why'd ye spill yer beans?", and there's nothing like Defoe's sea foam malediction from The Lighthouse. Instead, there's lots of dudes screaming. Male diction.

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