The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

I was holding my breath, with all of the promotional interviews with writer/director Robert Eggers talking about the obligations that come from a much larger budget and studio backing, compared to his smaller independent previous two films. Talk of being more "accessible" than the dream fever of The VVitch or The Lighthouse, basically the very aspects of those films that make them entrancing and interesting. I was fully prepared to see how Hollywood was going to fuck up this movie. Thankfully, any interference appears fairly minimal, at least concerning his immersive and evocative style, luscious cinematography, all of the humming strings and buzzing bees on the soundtrack. The film is still a sensual marvel, closer to Valhalla Rising's savage psychedelia than some post-Games of Thrones or 300 testosterone-fest. Although I think it's probably inevitable that a portion of the audience will champion the film for all of the wrong reasons, like its fascistic violence (which is visceral but hardly glamorized) or the kind of vague Nordic fetish that appeals to edgelords. Like The VVitch, I'm not going to hold the film responsible for whatever awful interpretations anyone wants to make about it. And even Alexander Skarsgard isn't too bad doing his best buff Peter Tork. Here's my thumb.

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