Director Robert Eggers is know for making artistic and amazingly historical detailed films that often leave viewers deep in thought. The Northman, his tale of a Viking seeking revenge, is no different. The story is based on the legend of Amleth, which is said to have inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet. What could have been just another stagnant period piece has become something else entirely.
Often filmmakers ease their audiences into the world they will be visiting for however long the movie lasts. Not Eggers. From the first few seconds of The Northman, you are immediately transported into another time and place. Your ears are met with the beating of drums and a deep voice letting you know this is going to be an unforgettable adventure.
The casting of this film was done beautifully, with every character fiercely holding their own. Our lead character Amleth, played by the immensely talented Alexander Skarsgård, is our guide throughout this journey. I will go ahead and address the elephant in the room for any True Blood fans like myself out there. Yes, our Eric Northman, Skarsgård, is playing a Northman. We actually have the vampire character to thank for inspiring Skarsgård to want to take on a more historically accurate telling of Vikings. As a producer on the film as well, Skarsgård was completely on board with Eggers’ brutally honest depiction of how life was in those days.
I also have to take a moment and talk about the incredible stand out performances from Nicole Kidman as Queen Gudrun and Anya Taylor-Joy as Olga. These two actresses were utterly fierce! It is no secret that being a woman in the past was not an easy fate, but these two characters take matters into their own hands. They decide their fates, and by the end of the movie you can fully understand why each made the choices they did.
The Northman is one of those films you truly need to experience for yourself. The feeling of the music in your chest during battle scenes is epic. Honestly if you don’t have chills from the final scene’s score, then you might need to check your pulse. Alongside the soundtrack the gorgeous scenery was used to further the mystical sense of the movie. There were several moments that had me sitting in awe of the landscape of Iceland that is a main character itself. Having such an ethereal world where many savage acts take place had me continually wondering what would happen next.
As I sat watching the credits roll, there were two words that came to my mind: brutally beautiful. There is no better way to describe The Northman. It does not shy away from the barbaric culture of the Vikings, or the supernatural aspects of their culture. At the same time, it will make viewers question where the line between human and animal stands when we are faced with the unimaginable. If you want a unique film that will shock, surprise, and take you on a strange but unforgettable journey then I recommend, The Northman.
The Northman is in theaters now.