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The Northman
   review by Bobby Blakey

The Northman.jpg

Director Robert Eggers burst onto the scene with critical acclaim of his films The Witch and my favorite The Lighthouse. His unique vision has set him apart from other filmmakers and really gets you excited to see what he does next. His latest film The Northman looks to be yet another one of those projects. The film features a great cast including Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe, but does it bring the usual style and originality that Eggers previous films had or will it fail to make it to Valhalla?


The Northman follows young Viking prince, Amleth who escapes his kingdom after his father, the King is murdered and vows to return and take revenge. Years later, the now hulking Amleth discovers his murderous uncle lost his kingdom and is now a feudal lord. Amleth poses as a slave to take his revenge but must decide what to do about his mother and young half-brother.


I am a huge fan of Eggers films and think he is one of the most unique filmmakers we have out there today. It goes without saying I was really excited about this film bringing Eggers, this cast and Viking mythology together for what I had hoped would be a violent epic. It not only lived up to expectations it exceeded it all around. The film is not just the usual action period flick, but Shakespearean in nature which comes as no surprise since Amleth was the direct inspiration for Hamlet. This takes the film from standard action to something so much bigger and more impactful.


The cast are all excellent with Skarsgard carrying the most load and he is so good here. He threw himself into this role that showcases his true passion for it and in turn has delivered one of the best performances of his career. The rest of the cast bring their A game as well fully investing

in every aspect of their characters and world. I am not usually a big Kidman fan, but she is insanely good here and really brings a power and depth to the role. The always amazing Dafoe didn't get as much time as I had hoped, but he is one of the most engaging of characters in the film. 


The action sequences are anything we haven’t seen before, but don’t need to be. They are straight forward brutality that fits the narrative and period offering up some decent blood spewing and dismemberment. In addition to the violence there are some supernatural elements that play up from the Scandinavian legends likely from Saxo Grammaticus who was considered the foremost authority on Amleth. Some might find these elements silly or offputting, but you have to look at the time period and beliefs to this culture and understand that it is mythology and works damn well.


Anytime you deal with a period piece the world around it has to work and it is so well done here. The sweeping landscapes are a visual treat in the surrounding violence and the gritty and dirty lives these people live are a direct contradiction to it making it all stand out as a thing of horrific beauty. I love everything about this movie and hope that it gets the love it deserves in the long run. Once again Eggers has delivered a masterpiece and has me even more excited to see what he conjures up next. Maybe we will finally get his remake of Nosferatu with Willem Dafoe that keeps popping up.


In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted & extended scenes, commentary, featurettes and more. Grab your copy of The Northman available now on digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.

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