The Northman

The Northman ★★★★

Robert Eggers latest film is a brutally violent, gory and exciting viking revenge epic. The screenplay is inspired heavily by Hamlet and also incorporates elements of Macbeth which makes the story predictable but does not detract from the tension or spectacle. I think above all else The Northman is an experience for the senses which benefits greatly from being seen on a big screen unlike the director's previous two features that both work rather well on a smaller screen. The sound design and score are both overwhelming in their power and the music especially is quite atmospheric. The cinematography as well is mesmerising and contributes towards the truly epic feel that you want from a movie like this.

I really like the way that Eggers has found a balance here between a more mainstream big budget type of filmmaking and the arty surrealistic style that he has been known for. The whole movie is well directed with fantastic use of gore and the violent fighting sequences are well choreographed. For the most part the acting is very good as Alexander Skarsgård, Anna Taylor-Joy and Nicole Kidman are all convincing whilst Bjork makes a suitably dramatic and entertaining cameo. The only performance I wasn't so sure about was Ethan Hawke as he seems to struggle with the accent and dialogue more than anyone else but he's not a huge presence in the story so it doesn't matter that much. Sometimes I found that the constant, unrelenting action scenes became a bit tedious and from about 30 minutes in up until the hour mark the film wasn't as engrossing as it should have been. As a result this is probably my least favourite out of the three features Robert Eggers has directed but that's just because I don't enjoy this genre of film as much as the psychological horror of his previous work. However The Northman is still a spectacular and dramatic movie that is well worth seeing, especially in a cinema.

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