At a young age, Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) witnesses the brutal murder of his father (Ethan Hawke) by his uncle (Claes Bang), who kidnaps his mother (Nicole Kidman). Amleth grows up into a fierce Viking, consumed by his mission: to save his mother, kill his uncle, and avenge his father.
Robert Eggers‘ action-filled and Hamlet-inspired revenge epic, The Northman, is nothing short of an epic journey and with a $90 million price tag, it sure as hell better be.
Filmed on location with a tremendously impressive production, The Northman completely transports you into the Viking culture and detailed folklore with sweeping cinematography and spectacular visuals.
It is not a shocker, but Viking times are not for the faint of heart. And The Northman does not shy away from being authentic.
It is brutal, with blood spurting, bone-crushing violence and lots of dirty men, howling, barking and acting like feral fraternity brothers. It also has a lot of other shocking elements including nude battles by the “Gates of Hell” and psychedelic drugs that drive people mad to death — but hey, don’t let me ruin all the surprises for you.
However, despite all of its primordial brutality, you cannot help but become engulfed in the narrative and Amelth’s bloodthirsty journey.
The Northman himself, Alexander Skarsgård does a fantastic job embodying this dominating protagonist not only physically (guys, his muscles are INSANE) but delivering truly touching moments.
Other stand out performances include Nicole Kidman’s complex and layered performance as Queen Gurdún as well as Willem Dafoe’s brief role as Heimer, which personally I could have used more of. But let’s be honest, we can always use more Dafoe.
Is this for everyone? Probably not.
But it is one of the most impressive historic epics we’ve had in a while? Hell yes.
Just roll with the punches – or eh…stabbing? – and I promise you too will enjoy the journey.
Final Thoughts: Eggers continues to prove he one of the most visionary minds in the business with an unforgettable epic