The Northman

The Northman ★★★★½

In his third film, Eggers delivers exactly what the trailer promised, plus a lot more. It's Biblical (Moses), Shakespearean, and a prequel to 'The Crow' all at the same time. Similarly, even though Rob has moved on to a more mainstream studio, his aesthetic idiosyncrasies from his time at A24 remain.

Although it took some getting used to, the Shakespearean language screenplay adds a certain charm to the picture that matches the sort of film it is and the era in which it is set, which, combined with much of the costuming, use of natural light, production design, and rituals that are apparently in line with the conventions of the time, enabled me to immerse myself deeper into the story as a whole. The horror aspects and the gnarly, brutal violence (that wall letter sequence, man!) are phenomenal, yet Eggers and his team direct and structure everything in such a manner that it is always shocking and aesthetically appealing. There was a plot twist that caught everyone on my screening off guard and left us feeling helpless.

Another thing I had to get accustomed to was the acting, which was a little too much at the end with all the farting and barking, but as it progressed and our characters got a chance to show off their acting abilities, I was enthralled. Dafoe just being Dafoe. Skarsgard's tale arc from animal to human-like was compelling. Claes was a fantastic villain. Kidman proves why she's one of the finest living actresses in the second half. Anya was fantastic as the love interest, but also as the catalyst for brutus to rediscover his humanity, acting as a moral compass.

All in all, while I can see how some could find it a bit heavy-handed, and Eggers occasionally goes over the top artistically, this was incredible as a gruesome retelling of Hamlet... or is it McBeth?

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