Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
At last, Robert Eggers has created his masterpiece. His highly overrated The Witch and his vastly superior follow-up The Lighthouse has taught him valuable lessons in the art of filmmaking which have led him to The Northman, a tragically beautiful tale of lost innocence, rising vengeance, and the hope of redemption.
Alexander Skarsgård led a stellar cast that included Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Claes Bang, and Nicole Kidman with a cameo appearance by Ineta Sliuzaite. The story follows Amleth, the son of King Aurvandil. After a private ceremony to lead Amleth from boyhood into manhood, an attack by the King's brother Fjölnir causes Amleth to run away. Amleth swears to avenge his father, save his mother, and kill Fjölnir. Years later, he's joined a group of savages, nothing but hate filling his veins as he has trained himself to be a ruthless wildman, learning from the most savage tribes in the lands. He thinks he has himself all figured out until he meets Olga of the Birch Forest, a witch who dabbles in earth magic. And then his heart begins to feel something it hasn't in decades: love.
Alexander Skarsgård gave an outstanding performance as Amleth, showing off his still-sculpted body for most of the film. His rage-filled battle scenes were just as powerful as his dramatic scenes, showing his growth as an actor and also displaying the marks of a good director who knows how to lead his actors. Anya Taylor-Joy is without a doubt one of the best young performers of her generation, again and again pouring her heart, soul, and mind into her performances, convincing the audience time and time again that she and her character are the same person. She has such a gift for getting inside her character's mind and picking apart the layers to find what drives them, what inspires them, and what they care about. She and Alexander had such beautiful chemistry together and were the driving force of the film. There was one other performance that was an outstanding start for a newcomer and she was on screen for less than a minute. Ineta Sliuzaite portrayed a Valkyrie ferrying souls to Valhalla. She didn't say a single word, but her face and attitude said it all.
I loved how Eggers direction, his ability to capture what life must have been like in the Viking era, and his visual style was stunning to behold. The Valkyrie sequences were by far the most stunning of the film, capturing the terrifying beauty of the godly beings.
I loved how literally every piece of this film was rooted in Viking history, from the huts to the slave-labor to the fear of crusading Christians. The characters were most impressive, from the look of their helmets to the design of their arm bands to the swan feathers on the cloak of the Valkyrie. Director Robert Eggers did his research and paid close attention to every single detail. It was absolutely breathtaking to behold his vision and the fantastic story and character progression.
In conclusion, I have nothing but praise for this film. Robert Eggers has finally proved to me that he has the skill and the genius to create something beautiful, tragic, and stunning. I give The Northman a 4 out of 4.
© 2022 Nathan Jasper