A Viking prince returns to his homeland to avenge his father's
murder and reclaim the kingdom that was stolen from him.
The Northman (2022)
Directed by Robert Eggers
Written by Sjón and Robert Eggers
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Björk, Gustav Lindh
Based on the Viking legend
With The Witch and The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers proved to all of us that he had a wildly different vision for his career. With The Northman, he's wiped away any lingering fears that he was a possible one-trick pony. He combines historical drama with brutal action to make a film that will stand out as one of the best of the year and one of the most intense of the decade. Every performer knocks it out of the park, as does the cinematographer and set designer, among many other pieces of this Viking epic. Regrettably, it doesn't look like the box office return will be very good, but fans and critics alike have already praised The Northman as a near masterpiece.
The story follows a similar path to Shakespeare's Hamlet, but that's because the film is based on the Viking legend that Hamlet as based on. There's pop culture for ya, just eating itself. When his father (Hawke) is murdered by his uncle (Bang), young Prince Amleth (Skarsgård) flees from his homeland with an eternal promise to avenge his father, save his mother (Kidman), and kill his uncle Fjölnir. He grows into a savage warrior with no sense of love, only vengeance. He pretends to be a slave to get close to Fjölnir and learns some terrible truths about what really happened between Fjölnir and his father. The story is engaging as hell, and the visuals are remarkable. From Odin to the Halls of Valhalla, Norse mythology is wholly embraced.
The Northman is a great addition to Robert Eggers' filmography, and makes me very excited to see what he does next. He's tackled supernatural horror, then psychological horror, and now unforgiving, violent action. He's a jack of all trades as far as I'm concerned, and an argument can be made for The Northman being his best film yet.