Yes, as you’ve possibly already read, THE NORTHMAN is Robert Eggers’ most ambitious and also most accessible film to more casual film fans. And it’s also his greatest achievement thus far in the filmmaking world.
I am partial to THE VVITCH more than I am to THE LIGHTHOUSE, which isn’t to say I’m not a fan of the latter. I enjoyed them both, but his first feature took my emotions further. I knew this film would be a lot more than a bloody Viking romp with shirtless Alexander Skarsgård for two-plus hours. But… I also guarantee that some folks who aren’t familiar with Eggers’ work may think that’s all it’s going to be that and go see it because of that. No shame. He’s gorgeous. I knew what I was getting into walking into this. I’m not sure I imagined it would really thrill me as much as it did.
THE NORTHMAN satisfied my summer action thirst and my arthouse feelers. I think I currently consider it second to EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE for 2022 thus far, but it’s absolutely right after. Eggers films work on a horror-thrill level, but also as an indictment on a lot of patriarchal bullshit of our ancestors. Male leads in all of his films make terrible major decisions that put either themselves and/or the folks they love around them in danger. In American cinema there’s been a lot of historical hero stories. Eggers feels like he’s gunning for a spot next to LAWRENCE of ARABIA and he may actually make it. Time will tell.
Skarsgård has never felt more committed to and entrenched in a role and I adore him in just about everything. He’s born to play Prince Amleth. Ethan Hawke is having a much deserved-moment with this and MOON KNIGHT. Nicole Kidman is having MANY moments lately including this. She’s been on a fantastic streak of well-received stories. Her current promo that plays before films at AMC Theatres currently gets clapping and whooping from some Los Angeles audiences!!
THE NORTHMAN is probably going to weird-out a lot of casual “normie” moviegoers and I’m okay with that. I love seeing talented folks grow their audiences. Some of my friends wanted to know “How is Bjork?”. (#TeamGenX) The love the idea of film fans who worry this film might be too mainstream for them watching it next to someone who mostly only sees superhero films or rom coms.
So TL;DR (But I really hope you did): Come for Alexander Skarsgård’s naked bodice, and stay for a phenomenal epic tale that will thrill you and also slightly melt your brain.
THE NORTHMAN is currently playing exclusively in theaters.