The Northman Review – Author: ProfessorX

Rating: 4/5

In 858, Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) reigns as Viking king. He wants his son Amleth (Oscar Novak, later Alexander Skarsgård) to become ruler. One day, Aurvandil Fjölnir (Claes Bang)’s half-brother kills the king, takes his place on the throne and captures Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman). Amleth flees and seeks eternal revenge. Along with a gang of robbers he plunders the land of Russia and remembers his oath during a raid. He is captured and sold as the king’s slave along with Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy).

“I will take revenge, father. I will save you mother. “I will kill you, Fjolnir.” These words sum up the whole story of northernmost quite well together. What at its core strongly reminds you of Hamlet is in principle precisely this, in addition to being the inspiration for Shakespeare’s family drama. This does not win an innovation award and in principle it has already been said many times in cinemas. A little more fatigue can arise because then at least all the time you have the feeling that the point that explains the point of the XY plot has to come and so on and so forth. The work also needs something to continue. Every exhibition is really difficult because it serves only one purpose, which is to reveal the story. And that just leads to predictable moments that have already been hinted at. The film requires a certain identity. Although this sounds meaningful, it’s a fundamental problem because it gives the impression that Eggers wants to put a really big story on screen, but it ultimately relies on a foundation that, in essence, stems from the problems of people with good heels. . The potential for identification is lost a bit, because even the characters after Shakespeare are clearly defined.

But that does not mean that Eggers does not give the characters a double end. Amleth in particular is far more than a classic hero in his quest for revenge. You know him as a worried boy who wants to run away and has to leave behind his loving father. But what in Lion King (1994) on the clear struggle between good and evil is in northernmost covered with shades of gray in almost every aspect. Amleth will not stop at anything for his revenge and is not afraid to accept civilian victims. The film is aware of this fact and also sets clear rules for everything that happens in the work. At the same time, the revered father is also examined several times. This builds well because the film also describes the very beneficial relationship with Amleth’s wife and mother as relatively passive. At this point at the latest, one should not think of a lauded and romantic image of the Viking era. However, even the film must not completely escape romantic notions, because the ability to rule and thus exercise power is not presented as completely absurd, or rather its functionaries are not portrayed as completely absurd. The broken family structures and the resulting violence are clearly shown, but not completely rejected. You should have been much more radical in this regard. But this is a complaint at a very high level.

The final confrontation also gives you the impression of being in another world. There the men fight in the fire, so much so that it almost reminds you of the finale of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) recalls. Either way, masculinity seems to be a big theme in the film, but not against the backdrop that the tables have to turn now, but skillfully and somewhat mazically. Because it is actually this form of masculinity that mixes a little with the feeling of honor. In moments like these, you actually have the feeling of seeing people with really minor problems. And the cruel thing is that it is not limited to a small circle, but this power structure in a totalitarian society is always limited initially to the people. But reality is not the only level Eggers face. This is how it works northernmostsimilar as before witches (2015) and lighthouse (2019) Myths, legends and the invisible. Normally these aspects in stories are often a bit silly because the connection to reality is completely lost. But Eggers makes a virtue out of necessity and once again serves the viewer completely surreal images, which he constantly intertwines. Of course this is symbolic and you immediately notice that the script can integrate things like Valkyries, Yggdrasil or even magic in the movie without losing the credibility of the movie.

In moments like these, note also the origins of Eggers by Stark as a horror director. So the movie also offers one or the other creepy part. It is precisely the image that makes Eggers so fascinating. The result is an impressive visual work that passes effortlessly between digital recordings, surreal and real landscapes. The result is a very spiritual story at its core. But Eggers is great for not using his images simply as shocking, as Jordan Peele did we (2019) did, but to let full symbolic brilliance speak for itself. The film is well thought out because at no point does it allow the detachment of faith and yet it tells this mystical story exactly as it seems. This means that the combination of reality and fiction blends easily into each other. This no less because of the fantastic cast. Especially Alexander Skarsgård as Nordmann by name is impressive. He plays a strong and extremely strong Amleth, who goes beyond simple presence and knows how to hold the film. There is a pure danger in his eyes and you know that nothing will stop him. The same goes for other actors. Fantastic Willem Dafoe and equally fantastic Ethan Hawke may be a bit short, but they are phenomenal. Perhaps nothing more should be said about Anya Taylor-Joy. Nicole Kidman plays her very impenetrable character, while Claes Bang in particular can act equally with the hero.

Meanwhile, Egger’s dirty staging is most reminiscent of last year The Last Duel (2021), who could display equally drastic, cold images full of rudeness and violence. This is also interesting because Eggers can easily switch between staring at surreal and disgusting violence. Either way, his work has become quite unconventional with all its drasticity. It is good that such images are allowed to be shown to the general public, because in this respect it is demanding cinema. So that makes the film inaccessible in a good way.

Probably misleading northernmost with his unmistakable style a little beyond his history. However, this film can only be loved because of the historical rarity of modern film. It’s no longer about history, but the film delves deep into mythological realms and de-romanticizes views of diverse times that have certainly never existed. At the same time, the film confronts its viewers with complex characters who, though having rare problems to solve, nevertheless produce intense battles.

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