The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

Beautiful, bleak, blood-soaked, and brutal, The Northman thrives in the impact of savage blows, the crimson of arterial spray, the deep greens and grays of Ireland and Iceland, the vast mysteries of night, all captured in gorgeous 35mm. Eggers’ grasp of the visual is only getting stronger and it’s exciting to imagine what he’ll do when he gets his hands around Nosferatu.

The most interesting stuff plot-wise is the most fleeting — the secret ceremonies, the glimpses of the cosmos, the tease of Valhalla, those quiet and close moments with Björk in a dark room or Willem Dafoe in a plume of smoke. Otherwise, it’s Hamlet or The Lion King with the gore kicked up to 11 you know it, and it’s fine. The middle feels a bit flabby, which is not something you can say about Alexander Skarsgård, looking berserker yoked and popping those traps so hard he looks like he’s got a severe case of text neck. 

But it would be nice to have a few more unique beats to match the banquet of visuals. More sorcery to go with that ever-hungry sword. If that means more Elden Ring-style boss fights with towering corpse warriors hidden in dusty mountain strongholds, so be it and yes please.

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