‘The Northman’ is a new film released in April which is getting excellent reviews for good reasons. It has been ages since I have gone to the movies, but I went to see this on Monday and found it impressive.
By the way, seeing a movie at a 4 PM matinee on a Monday is great. I was one of only two people in the theater. I decided to buy a small soda to enjoy during the movie. Would you believe $6.89? I kid you not.
Ironically, the last time I wrote a movie review for Legal Insurrection, it was for 2016’s ‘The Witch’ which was made by the same director, Robert Eggers.
The Northman is not for everyone. It’s rated R for violence, nudity, and sexual content. The violence is presented realistically, and it’s pretty bloody, but if you’re a fan of the Viking genre, you’ll love it.
The movie is also pure escapism. There is nothing woke in this film. There is no virtue signaling and no attempt to bring this period of history into the present day, which is so refreshing.
The entire film is very well put together. The writing, the acting, everything is meticulous. The film was mostly shot in Ireland and the scenery is spectacular.
All of the performances are outstanding, including Willem Dafoe in a small but memorable role. Alexander Skarsgård is great in the main role and even the Icelandic pop star Björk makes an appearance as a mysterious seer.
Major spoilers ahead!
The film follows the story of a boy named Amleth, whose father, a king is killed by his brother. Amleth is an anagram for Hamlet, and that’s no mistake. The story of Hamlet is based on a Scandinavian legend about a guy named Amleth. The story in the film is a bit Hamlet-esque as well.
Amleth escapes their island kingdom by boat as his mother is being carried away by his usurping uncle. He vows to avenge his father’s death and rescue his mother. We then jump to years later when Amleth is a young man. He has joined a band of Viking marauders and during a mission, discovers that shortly after his uncle’s actions, he was run out of town by the king of Norway. His uncle is now living as a lowly sheep farmer in Iceland.
Amleth secretly boards a boat full of slaves who are being taken to Iceland, where he meets a beautiful young Slavic woman who was captured in a prior raid.
Now grown and not recognized, Amleth is taken as a slave by his uncle and lives at his farm, quietly planning his revenge. At one point, he saves the young son of his uncle and is rewarded by being allowed to take the Slavic woman as his spouse. With her help, Amleth begins killing off members of his uncle’s circle of family and friends.
He has a chance to escape with his new love, who is now pregnant, but he decides avenging his father’s death is more important, so he sends her away by boat and stays behind, over her objections.
When he finally reveals his true identity to his mother, played excellently by Nicole Kidman, she tells him that she never loved his father, and that she plotted with the uncle to kill the king. Hello, Hamlet.
She in turn reveals his identity to the uncle who vows to kill him. When Amleth finally goes to kill his uncle, he is attacked by his mother, who he kills. He agrees to meet his uncle at the foot of a local volcano, where they battle with swords and kill each other, after which, Amleth is taken to Valhalla by a valkyrie.
End of spoilers.
Again, this isn’t for everyone, but if you like this genre, you’ll probably love The Northman.
Here’s the trailer:
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