The long-awaited Viking fantasy of the extremely talented Robert Eggers, however, proved to be a certain disappointment. There is no denying to Eggers that “The Northman” is a technically and artistically brilliantly made film, an expensive medieval spectacle that superheroes and similar nonsense have pushed out of the cinema today, but I still expected it from the film “Witches” and “Lighthouse”. something more. Again, the problem was probably with my obviously unrealistically high expectations and hopes that Eggers would record a historical spectacle we hadn’t had a chance to watch before. Some perfect mix of “Conan” and “Lazarus’ Market”, blockbuster mainstream and art film, something like the unsurpassed Boorman’s “Excalibur” or Refn’s “Valhalla Rising”, but that didn’t happen and “The Northerner” is actually a movie we’ve been to many times. had a chance to watch.
It is already known that the plot of Eggers was designed according to the Nordic legend of Prince Amlet, according to which William Shakespeare also designed “Hamlet”. Undoubtedly, this story also served as an inspiration for “Conan”, so it is not surprising that for the most part, the story “The Northman” is reminiscent of the cult Milius film. After young Uncle (Alexander Skarsgard) his uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang from Östludn’s “Square”) kills his father, also his half-brother Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) and takes his mother Gudrun (Nicole Kidman to whom Skarsgard a few years ago in the series “Big Little Lies “played a husband, and now it’s her son) for a wife, he will swear revenge. Of course, it will take a long time for that revenge. Before that, Amleth will turn from a boy into an almost bloodthirsty animal, a Viking fighter who, with similar people, roams the area of today’s Russia and literally drinks the blood of his rivals.
When he meets the young Russian slave Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy who had the first, so far the best role in Eggers’ “The Witch”), his transformation will begin, but we will see if the desire for love and peace can overcome the bloodthirsty vengeful instinct. A bit banal and seen countless times, Eggers supplemented it with depictions of numerous Nordic rituals, which, knowing his approach, he studied in detail. The reality and realism that follows the main narrative line and Amlet’s path is intertwined with fantasy, magic, mythology and Nordic religion, so we have a lot of magic here, including Odin himself with braces driving a carriage towards Valhalla.
Everything here from the first to the last scene looks impressive and magnificent, but in that respect I did not expect anything less. The island where the film was shot in its entirety also, as expected, proved to be the perfect backdrop, and Eggers fantastically revived typical Viking villages and portrayed the way of life at the time. It is clear to us how cruel this time was and what a lifestyle it was in which people were raised to be perfect killers, and going on bloody and violent raids for them was like going to work for us. All this is more than impressive, especially the final scene, which seemed to me to be some demigods from Greek mythology, but it still remained quite banal and completely unambiguous.
There is not a bit of mystery, hermetics, as in previous Eggers films, and everything is completely clear at first. Although he prepared some surprises, the story is more, less completely expected, and the acting was not particularly striking to me. It is not clear to me why this speaking of English in some strange dialect is still being forced with an attempt at a Nordic accent (Olga, of course, speaks that classic Rash English as if Rade Serbedzija was her teacher) and that always seems irritating and silly to me. All those who love historical spectacles, first-class action and even sword and sorcery fantasy on the trail of Conan, will certainly not miss with “The Northman”, but it seems that I obviously had high expectations from this film and I hope that Eggers will after this blockbuster trip return to what he did before. Rating 7/10.
MORE MOVIE REVIEWS: THE LONG NIGHT (2022, USA) Movie review, plot, trailer, rating