Film Review: “The Northman” (2022)

Brutally honest

Chris Salazar

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Unless you are either a big fan of A24’s horror library or an active member of #FilmTwitter, there’s a chance that you may not be familiar with the visionary director that is Robert Eggers. The 38-year-old New Englander started off making a few short films in the mid-2000s before taking off in 2015 with his horror hit, “The Witch”. With that film, Eggers cemented himself as a filmmaker dedicated to keeping the settings of his films as authentic as possible. With “the Witch” Eggers committed to filming only in natural lighting and had the dialogue written in the language that fit the puritan time period. This carried over to his 2019 film, “The Lighthouse”. Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse” was a 110-minute descent into madness about two lightkeepers who are isolated on an island. Keeping with the 1890s time period, The film was completely shot in black & white while its dialogue remained within that period. I loved both films but, I can understand why some audience members would be left scratching their heads once the credits roll. I felt the same way at the end of last year’s “Green Knight”.

Now, Eggers is taking another step in his career going from indie horror auteur to hopefully making an impact on blockbusters with a bigger budget. With Focus Features/Universal backing his latest film, “The Northman”, Eggars prepares to transition from what Gen-Z kids on Twitter would call “Elevated Horror” to a new take on the sword and sandal epic. When I first heard that this was his first major studio film, I was initially concerned considering how studios love to meddle with big and ambitious projects. Thankfully, according to a recent interview, that might not be the case.

On the cusp of manhood, Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard) is exiled after his father (Ethan Hawke) is murdered by his own traitorous brother, Fjolnir (Claes Bang). Fjolnir also kidnaps Amleth’s mother, Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) as he steals the throne. Years later, Amleth becomes a Viking who is set on a warpath along with a mysterious woman (Anya Taylor-Joy). Along the path, he encounters a seeress (Bjork) who reminds him of the vow he made to himself as a child: avenge his father, save his mother, and kill his uncle.

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Chris Salazar

28 | Fiction Writer | usually writes about anything but, mostly about film