The Northman

The Northman ★★★★★

A labour of love

"Your sheep's clothing does not disguise you, Northman."

AWOOOOOOOOO

At no point does The Northman try to allude you of its destination, in fact it is constantly pointed toward and greatly romanticised, but reaching it is no less powerful then had it been a surprise.

Robert Eggers interweaves mythology within a very real-world and dirty setting with moments of beautiful and terrifying surrealism that will likely become a trademark upon Eggers' filmography, of which so far he has managed not to miss hitting a mark of historical intrigue and spiritual horror with all three of his triumphs; The Witch, The Lighthouse, and now; The Northman.

The film's cast appear to all be pushing themselves to their limits here, and as well as hearing going in that The Northman was hellish to film, watching it shows that it must have been emotionally draining as well. Alexander Skarsgård's Amleth is a hulking animal of a man, and as impressive as it is to watch him cut through unwitting fodder to his hungry sword, he can also hold emotion-heavy moments really well. And as Skarsgård is the beating heart that keeps The Northman moving forward, Anya Taylor-Joy's Olga is the heart of hearts that grounds and gives meaning to The Northman, the two of them are a fantastic duo, as competent together as they are apart. Taylor-Joy continues to prove she is *the* defining actress of her generation.

It's brutal and relentless, and the film's narrative is as powerful as the juxtapositions that Eggers litters his cinematography with, as he paints a picture of the gorgeous but bleak and plentiful landscapes that play backdrop to this dark tale of family and blood. You give Eggers this big a budget and he does wonders with it, I loved literally being on the edge of my seat for so much of this film.

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