The Northman

The Northman ★★★★★

What a film. What a brutal, grimy, destructive, masterfully crafted film. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I left the cinema, and those thoughts are currently a jumble of appreciation and awe. I’ll try to form its themes and meaning into something coherent when I inevitably go to see it again. What I can safely say is that I’m now fully on board the Robert Eggers hype train.

It's taken me a few years, but I'm finally there. With The Northman, Eggers has made it impossible for me to overlook him in the conversations of young exciting directors currently working. He brings such visual panache to this ancient tale, with a dedication to authenticity that’s been almost non-existent in studio-produced historical films for some time now. That dedication is on display, front and centre. You can practically smell the mud, sweat and blood seeping through the screen. This is the sort of film Ridley Scott might make if he had Peter Weir’s dedication to historical accuracy. Eggers twists mythology and human nature together in such murky, layered ways, and it chimed with everything I want to see in this type of film. I was impressed by The Witch, was ambivalent towards The Lighthouse, but finally found exactly what I was hoping for with The Northman. Rarely does a new release get me excited like this.

First The Batman, now The Northman. After two years of delayed releases and closed cinemas, 2022 has been serving up some real big screen magic. Long may the trend continue.

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