The Northman

The Northman ★★★½

Basically Modern Day Gladiator meets Hamlet— in other words a big epic movie about revenge that is more straight forward than it lets on to being. (And based on how many people loved The Batman, vengeance is big business, baby!)

While I did like watching Skarsgaard go absolutely Beast Mode in a River of Lava,  I’m not as hyped about this movie as some are. It left me cold. What I mostly kept thinking of was how watching this was it kinda like playing God of War with long takes and moody scenes between the action (some people call them cut scenes).

It felt like two movies at odds with each other: one a nightmarish anthropological art thesis about Norse culture, the other a dude bro epic directed by Mel Gibson. I liked aspects of both but they never exactly jibed together fully for me. And while the elements that include the cinematography, production design, and sound design (ESPECIALLY THE SOUND) were straight gorgeous and visceral, the direction of Eggers struck me as strangely airless and stale. For whatever reason the humor in The Lighthouse off set this a bit, but it’s evident here.

But this was still a fun experience as a balls out Viking blockbuster. And the one thing I appreciated most is when it started to subvert the relatively straight forward revenge tale— asking questions about the myths we make in our heads about our trauma and family and how it differs from reality. It sadly doesn’t take this idea too far, but at least we get a good Kidman role that isn’t just BEFORE the movie.

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