When there is a Skarsgård brother tied to a movie, you can pretty much guarantee I’ll sign up to watch it.
Director Robert Eggers (get to know his name now) is back with the ultimate epic. Eggers made a name for himself with the atmospheric indie horrors The Witch from 2015 (loved) and The Lighthouse from 2019 (hated) and has returned with (in my opinion) his greatest work, The Northman.
The difference between this movie and his previous work? A $90 million budget that allowed him to bring the Viking epic from page to screen. It’s my unexpected blockbuster love of the summer.
The Northman is based on the Scandinavian legend of Amleth, which also inspired Hamlet. It follows the young Viking prince (Alexander Skarsgård) on his quest to avenge his father’s murder (Ethan Hawke) and save his mother (Nicole Kidman). There’s lots of sword-swinging and blood pouring in this one; it’s graphic, but in all the right, realistic, not too shock-worthy ways.
When asked by GQ if Eggers accomplished making a definitive Viking movie, he responded, “You’d think if I had the hubris to say that was my goal, I would be able to say whether I did it or not, but I guess I feel like that’s for other people to say. But the thing is, I had an opening. I couldn’t possibly say, ‘I’m going to make the definitive Western or the definitive science fiction movie.’ That’s beyond madness. But because the last classic Viking movie is from 1958 (The Vikings), there was an opening.”
One of the greatest strengths of the movie is the cast of spectacular actors. The list includes Alexander Skarsgård, Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Anya-Taylor Joy, and a brief appearance by Björk, who hasn’t been on screen since 2000’s magnificent Dancer in the Dark.
Eggers says he did a tremendous amount of research in preparation for the Viking epic consulting Viking historians and archeologists to get the 1,000 year old plot line to be exact. So for anyone griping and wondering about historical accuracy, Eggers did his homework.
The Northman is without a doubt a tremendous accomplishment for the indie director. When asked if he would ever make a movie set in modern times, Eggers simply said, “no thank you.”