The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

What one would imagine Robert Eggers’ The Lion King to look like- it’s as violent, weird, captivating and ultimately satisfying as you’d expect. A straightforward revenge tale isn’t exactly the direction you’d expect him to go after the psychological folk horror of The Witch and whatever mindfuck character study The Lighthouse was, but his attention to detail on the Viking era and trippy imagery makes it much clearer. The cinematography (Jarin Blaschke outdoes himself here, the colors pop and the final hell sequence would make David Tattersall proud) and direction are the clear all-star players here, with Eggers confidently broadening the scope with long takes that create atmosphere and genuine tension. The film gets a bit repetitive in its bloodthirsty quest for revenge, with some scenes needing to be fleshed out more than others, though I’m not certain what I would’ve altered.

Alexander Skarsgård is an actor I’ve kept note of over the years, from The Diary of a Teenage Girl to Succession season 3, he often plays dudes who don’t give a shit to perfection, but when asked to play vengeance (insert Zoe Kravitz calling Robert Pattinson vengeance like it’s his government name), he literally goes beast mode. I cherish the Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe cameos as well as Oscar Novak as young Amleth; that’s how you tell a character’s backstory efficiently. Anya Taylor-Joy and Claes Bang own their roles as well, this whole thing is actors paradise (although one of my friends pointed out that the harsh shooting conditions of The Lighthouse was not worth it, especially if Pattinson and Dafoe aren’t getting paid big bucks, and I tried convincing him that achieving great art is all that matters). In summary, two words: kicks ass.

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