RebelCommander’s review published on Letterboxd:
After watching a series, The History Channel had promos for Vikings, a TV show. Looking back, it's kind of sad that a channel dedicated to history started relying on scripted TV dramas loosely based on historical figures.
Seeing the trailers for The Northman made me curious about which historical figures referenced in Vikings would appear in The Northman. The only one I recall is Harald Fairhair, king of Norway, who the film references as having driven Fjölnir into exile.
The plot is engaging. It tracks a young Amleth, destined to become king after his father, only to face tragedy and turn his world upside down. So an older Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) begins fighting his way back home to confront the trauma he experienced.
Viking lore has been romanticized, primarily through Marvel's Thor. But Robert Eggers exposes the various gritty and bloody aspects of the religion. We also see the differences in class and culture within Iceland in the late AD 800s.
Skarsgård is convincing as a Viking. It was surprising to see Willem Dafoe play the jester. Yet he fit right in during the spiritual ceremony.
Nicole Kidman was excellent at playing her role. I liked the way we learned more about her character. Ethan Hawke also proved why he is a great actor.
I didn't know that Amleth is part of Viking legend. I don't see how this film holds up with different versions of the lore, but it seems to be a good contribution.