“The Northman” is the newest addition to the filmography of critically acclaimed director Robert Eggers.
Eggers has mostly done horror films in the past with highly regarded films such as the 2015 film “The Witch,” and 2019 film “The Lighthouse,” but with the recent release of “The Northman,” Eggers takes on this Viking historical epic and excels in everything that he tries to accomplish.
From a director who has consistently been great with visual storytelling, in addition to writing, “The Northman” is no exception and in some respects, I would even consider this to be the best film of Robert Eggers. For starters, “The Northman” is a drop-dead gorgeous film in every scene regardless of what is being portrayed.
Whether it is the arrival of a King to his kingdom, a brutal village raid or a grand battle on the slopes of a volcano; it feels undermining to the film to say it is anything short of a spectacle.
Right up there next to the visuals, with aspects that deserve recognition, are the performances as well as the soundtrack. There does not seem to be a bad performance from the actors regardless of if you are talking about the leads in Alexander Skarsgard, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman and Claes Bang or the more minor roles such as Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe.
In fact, some of my favorite showcases of acting in the story come from the more minor roles of Hawke and Dafoe’s characters, but also even from extras in sequences, like the raid I mentioned, where you can feel the terror and distress that the inhabitants are feeling.
The soundtrack, composed by Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough, is filled with sounds synonymous with Norse culture that succeed in evoking emotions that can make you feel calm or tense one minute and the next make you want to run straight through a brick wall and go to battle.
One area that I would say the film may be slightly lacking is in the writing department. While I would still say that the writing and plot works well for what Eggers is trying to achieve and, by general standards, is good writing, I do not feel like the writing was necessarily on par with his past movie, “The Lighthouse.” . In a time where Hollywood seems to make an abundance of remakes, franchises and comic book movies, 2022 seems to be giving us a much-needed breath of fresh air for original films.
“The Northman” is easily a personal favorite movie and one of the best that I have seen in recent years. I highly recommend going to see “The Northman” as soon as possible before it leaves theaters. This feels like a cinematic experience that will not be given justice if you do not see it in theaters.