Abbie’s review published on Letterboxd:
Another impressive, masterful film from Robert Eggers! Although not as concise and as subtly genius as The Witch, the grand, sprawling atmosphere of The Northman is very fitting for the brutality and epic nature of Norse mythology. I’m not entirely familiar with Viking beliefs, but I have a general gist for it having played Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, so I didn’t find myself confused by the narrative. In fact, I think it’s pretty easy to pick up the story even if you know nothing about Viking history at all.
Whilst I felt the runtime was a little too long, the journey our main character goes through travels along at a good pace, and concludes in a climactic, explosive finale that I enjoyed massively. Action movies like this aren’t usually my ballpark, but I really got swept up in the world Egger’s builds. You can almost feel the heat from the campfires, the cold from the rain lashing down, and the grime and sweat from all the mud and dirt. I haven’t seen a single other Viking film, but the harshness of the surroundings depicted in The Northman seems very historically accurate to how difficult life must have been like back then.
Performances are great all round in this, and I had no idea Anya-Taylor Joy had such a significant role. She was superb. Nicole Kidman’s monologue was great but I thought her acting fell a little flat during other moments. The Northman is a film I think will benefit from watching with subtitles, much like The Witch, but I can’t say I ever found it hard to follow. Well done Robert Eggers, you smashed it out the park yet again!