Jack’s review published on Letterboxd:
Eggman made the most accurate depiction of Elden Ring that I’ve ever seen. The moment Amleth squares up on the big zombie sword boss, that’s when the film gets really epic. We don’t need a Elden Ring or God Of War film. Pack it up boys..
The Northman is highly influential on its past revenge predecessors. Most notably, Gladiator which was the groundwork of the genre and how it can be thrilling despite the main character being very flawed or evil. Prince Amleth is no different from Maximus. A character who deals with his trauma through the acts of violence. It’s the only way to obtain catharsis. Amleth’s visions of the afterlife and the family lineage haunts him throughout his journey. Images of animals (ravens, crows, wolves, and dogs) have animalistic/humanistic traits and are a part of Egger’s extensive mythology. If you remember The Lighthouse or The Wvitch, animals lead to curses or pave a path towards the message of the journey.
What continues to be striking with Egger’s vision is his ability to draw in immense amounts of energy, attention to detail, and thrilling psychedelic imagery. The first ten minutes of this film includes a long ritual involving Young Amleth and his father acting out like wolves. On their knees and embracing the animals of the Viking land. Eggers takes the audience by the throat and assaults the audience with hardcore violence, old Viking language, and abrasive imagery.
Alexander Skarsgård gives it his all with his career best performance. Anya Taylor-Joy continues to prove herself as the triple threat actress with no role that’s big or small. Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Nicole Kidman solidify themselves as one of the best actors of our time. And Björk awakes from her slumber to provide a striking cameo with pure consequences.
We can talk all day about how adult action dramas these days are sanitized and are taken advantage by the lowest common denominator.
The Northman revitalizes the genre. It adds so many layers and nuances and it further proves that art house cinema can play out with both general/hipster audiences.