Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Northman - Movie Review

The Movie: The Northman

The Director: Robert Eggers

The Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Björk, Willem Dafoe

The Story: From visionary director Robert Eggers comes The Northman, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father's murder.

The Review:
Robert Eggers is one of those directors who keeps building off his previous efforts and creating films that leave a lasting impression on anyone who watches them. The Witch was the director's debut feature film and it went a long way in establishing a distinctly dark and gritty tone which then carried over and emphasized further with his second effort The Lighthouse. Both films feature fantastic performances from the primary cast members The Witch was also the debut feature film for Anya Taylor-Joy who has now established herself as a bankable star in both TV and film.

In the last six years, Taylor-Joy has come a long way and watching her in films like this one, she plays Olga of the Birch Forest, really show how much star power she really has. Pairing her up with Alexander Skarsgård, who plays Amleth, for this movie was a really smart move as both actors take the aggressively stylized material and deliver some fantastic performances. Really, the entire cast seems so into the story and the style of film which goes a long way to why the movie is so good. When I say aggressively stylized, I mean nothing is held back when it comes to the emotion, the battles, and the fantasy elements of this historical fiction that is very much inspired by Hamlet although I prefer making a nod towards The Lion King because why not.

There is also an excess of aggression when it comes to the battles and fight scenes with lots of muscles, lots of abs, and lots of brutality and I mean all of that to be a good thing. Eggers never lets up on this tone not only in the action scenes but in the dialog, the visuals, and basically everything about the movie. It's an exhausting experience but again I mean that in a very good way. It's rare to see a movie like this that's done so well and that is such a stunning visual work of art on top of everything else. This might be one of the darkest and moodiest movies you will watch this year but it will also be one of the most beautiful.

Aside from the two leads, we also get to see Ethan Hawke as King Aurvandil War-Raven, Nicole Kidman as Queen Gudrún, Gustav Lindh as Thórir The Proud, Willem Dafoe as Heimir The Fool, and Claes Bang as Fjölnir The Brotherless. Even Björk shows up in the movie as one of the more creepy and demented witches you will ever find on screen. I guess Eggers really knows how to create witches and this was an exceptionally inspired choice as well. The casting all the way around is just spot on and, as I mentioned earlier, everyone gives maximum effort to bring this story to life in such a specifically stylized manner.

The Verdict:
The Northman is equal parts The Lion King and Hamlet as told through the combined lenses of Game of Thrones and 300. If you like your Viking movies to come with an extra helping of testosterone and a gigantic pile of visually stunning cinematography, then this is the movie for you.

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