Thursday 12 May 2022

REVIEW: The Northman (2022) - Stars Alexander Skarsgård, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy & Nicole Kidman

Review by Jon Donnis
Another day, another review, this time The Northman an epic historical fiction film directed by Robert Eggers and starring Alexander Skarsgård and based on the legend of Amleth.

The basic plot sees Amleth, (Alexander Skarsgård) a Viking prince who sets out on a quest to avenge the murder of his father.

Set in the year AD895, the film starts with King Aurvandill War-Raven (Ethan Hawke), returning from battle to his Kingdom on the Island of Hrafnsey. He reunites with Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) and his young son Prince Amleth.

The King wants to prepare his son to one day become King, so they take part in a spiritual ceremony, which involves a lot of crawling about and howling like wolves. The next day Aurvandill's brother Fjölnir (Claes Bang), and some masked men, ambush and murder the King, and take Queen Gudrún, Prince Amleth escapes, and swears to avenge his fathers death, save his mother, and kill his uncle.

Amleth is found by Vikings who raise him as a berserker. As a man Amleth, after pillaging a village, comes across a psychic/witch in a temple, she predicts that Amleth will soon take revenge on his father's killer. He finds out that Fjölnir was overthrown and is now on a farm in Iceland, so decides to travel there by posing as a slave on a ship.

What follows is lots of grunting, fighting, and classic Viking style action. At its base, this is a story about revenge, and the complexities of growing up, the beliefs you had, and how you react to tragedy.

One big problem I had with the film was the accents, although for the most part they are speaking in English, all the characters have really heavy Scandinavian accents, now usually I moan at a film that is set in ancient times, but people have modern accents, for example a Brummy in Ancient Greece will always take me out of the film, so I do commend this film for making the effort, however, the accents are so strong I struggled in parts to understand. I wished I had subtitles, but then I would rather the actors be speaking in the language that their accents are imitating. 

With that said, I enjoyed the film, lots of action, lots of grunting, fighting, swinging swords, being all manly etc. We don't get enough of that these days. This film doesn't have an ounce of "wokedom" in it, and that is a good thing.

The ending was a bit flat for me, but I suppose that comes down to personal taste.

The Good
The Northman has that epic feel to it, it feels like you are watching a big movie, and although Nicole Kidman seemed a bit out of place in the film, I thought Alexander Skarsgård was excellent. 

The Bad
Those bloody accents, couldn't understand them.

This film has plenty for everyone, epic fight scenes, manly grunting and big action for the men watching, and glistening half naked bodies for the women watching. Seriously though if you don't take the film too seriously, and just enjoy it for what it is, you wont be disappointed.

I score The Northman a gruntingly fantastic 8.5/10

At cinemas now