The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

I want to start my review of The Northman by first thanking the suits at Universal who had the courage to give Robert Eggers, an auteur director of two acclaimed horror indies, a $90m budget to make a bloody, visceral Viking revenge story that is a totally new and unique IP. It’s refreshing to see a big tentpole film in theatres that is the uncompromised original work of an incredible director. 

The world of The Northman is one of extreme cruelty, violence and brutality - but also a world that feels totally and completely realised in all its beauty and ugliness. Eggers crafts a tale of vengeance and betrayal in a manner that only he could make - one that balances elements of horror, action and the supernatural perfectly. This is the most “mainstream” of Eggers’ filmography but it is by no means his sell-out film - in fact, I worry that this might be too “weird” to connect with a general audience. 

Alexander Skarsgård gives the performance of his career as Amleth, and is complimented well by the likes of Anya-Taylor Joy, Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke. However, the star of The Northman is easily Nicole Kidman for me. Kidman performs a monologue near the 3/4 mark of the film that was easily the best work she’s done since Big Little Lies S1 (speaking of Big Little Lies, I was slightly weirded out that Skarsgård and Kidman played husband and wife there but mother and son here?!)

The Northman is not quite perfect though. The first act is slightly wobblier than the rest, and it took me a little while to get into the film. I also thought that the horror elements could have gone further in certain sections, and the runtime would have been perfect at 1hr 50/55 mins.

However, that’s just me nitpicking, I’m excited to watch The Northman again and really solidify my thoughts on it. Please support The Northman if it’s in theatres near you this week - we need more risks such as this taken by movie studios and auteurs these days.

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