When you’re depicting an action-drama historical film that focuses on a medieval Scandinavian legend, which itself is the direct inspiration of Prince Hamlet’s character, you’ve got a great start. But when the movie in question is The Northman, featuring the talents of one Anya Taylor-Joy, you’ve got a bloody, brutal vengeance story that brings the acting chops the Academy Awards would adore… and then there’s this fanboy’s perspective.
I have long been a fan of filmmaker Robert Eggers. To this day, I still adore The Witch, which I have praised ever since attending a media-only screening in 2015. Since then, I have only become more a fan of the movie and the filmmaker. While I may have missed The Lighthouse (but wanted to see it), I’ve watched his muse grow with each project she has pursued.
After appearing in genre entries Glass, The New Mutants and Last Night in Soho, I’ve become a big fan of the actress. While I still haven’t seen The Queen’s Gambit, I absolutely adored her role as Olga of the Birch Forest for her latest release.
In The Northman, Alexander Skarsgård portrays Amleth, a Viking warrior prince, whose whole life is devoted toward avenging the death of his father. This revenge fantasy eventually leads him to Olga. Each of the characters portrays more-than-meets-the-eyes elements, but together, their power is immense, and they might just have enough influence to right the past wrongs.
As our hero, Skarsgård is incredible. Amleth may not speak too much, but his emotions are clearly depicted through his actions. And his actions are great. His prowess as a berserker warrior is powerful and the only person who could remotely prevent him from reaching his goals is himself. But the need for a more delicate approach is necessary, as Olga enters the picture.
The Northman is absolutely bloody brutal and there’s so much testosterone packed into the two-hour-and-16-minute runtime, the viewer will wish for even more after the end credits run!
I’m not gonna lie: The story’s pretty great. The actors are incredible (including Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe) and the action is to die for… I only wish there were more supernatural elements. At times, Amleth experiences paranormal situations, and with them, a Seeress (played by Björk) foretells his future, who was the most intriguing character in the film.
The scenes with our hero and Olga are great, I just wanted to see more of this unexpected witchcraft. And realizing after the fact that the enigmatic Björk portrayed the character makes me immediately want to rewatch the entire film and see for a second time what the character predicts.
I’m thankful to have seen this film on a big screen (as opposed to a computer or a phone). The scenery and score are incredible to behold, along with the Norse symbolism, which appears numerous times throughout. Anya Taylor-Joy is definitely the highlight here, although so is Skarsgård’s physique (That’s not a six-pack, it’s a 12-pack!).
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy The Northman as much as I did, and truly cannot wait to see what filmmaker Eggers has in store next. Most likely, it’ll be another release by Focus Features, as the writer-director seems tied to the production studio for good. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, although I truly want him to succeed financially with his future endeavors and receive critical acclaim, alike.
Enjoy, The Northman!