Written by Sjon and Robert Eggers
Directed by Robert Eggers
Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Elliott Rose, Willem Dafoe, Phill Martin, Eldar Skar, Olwen Fouere, Edgar Abram and Bjork
Young Prince Amleth is on the cusp of becoming a man when his father is brutally murdered by his uncle, who kidnaps the boy’s mother. Fleeing his island kingdom by boat, the child vows revenge. Two decades later, Amleth is a Viking berserker raiding Slavic villages, where a seeress reminds him of his vow: avenge his father, save his mother, kill his uncle. Traveling on a slave ship to Iceland, Amleth infiltrates his uncle’s farm with the help of Olga, an enslaved Slavic woman — and sets out to honor his vow.
Robert Eggers latest film is a visual culmination of everything that the visionary director has presented to the public so far. What makes this one stand out to me is that is has a compelling story that is emotionally engaging.
The performances are great from everyone involved. Skarsgard has the right amount of charisma and physicality to pull off the role of a Viking warrior and the emotional range to make the viewer feel for him both in his journey and in his desire for revenge. There are several great scenes where he switches from the hard man he has become to the boy whose world was destroyed and you follow his emotional journey willingly. Anya Taylor-Joy is great as Olga. She has the right level of strength and sensuality to be appealing and has an agency that makes her more than a love interest or damsel in distress.
Eggers has a wonderful style that comes through in the film. The battles scenes are beautifully immersive. You feel a part of the action and there is an intimacy to it that brings out the brutality. There are also some great scenes that touch on the supernatural and a heightened sense of reality. These moments are visually thrilling and I couldn’t look away.
The Northman does a brilliant job of making an engaging revenge story, hero’s journey and folktale for the big screen. Eggers has a masterful visual eye and utilizes it in a way that brings out the compelling aspects of the plot and the visceral, brutal world of its characters. It’s a beautiful, stylish and entertaining story with lots of visual spectacle.