Directed by Robert Eggers, The Northman is an action-drama film that is co-written by Robert Eggers and Sjón. The film stars an ensemble cast consisting of Alexander Skarsgård, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.
King Aruvandil (Ethan Hawke) is a Viking king who knows that soon it will be time for his son to take over the kingdom. But things don’t go to plan when he is ambushed and murdered by his brother Fjolnir (Claes Bang) who takes over as king, while also taking his brother’s wife Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman). Despite this, Fjolnir is unable to kill King Aruvandil’s son, Amleth (Oscar Novak) who swears to kill his uncle, rescue his mother, and avenge his father.
Now an adult, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) learns that Fjolnir has relocated to Iceland, so Amleth infiltrates his home as a slave where he joins forces with fellow slave Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) who assists him on his quest for vengeance.
A lot of The Northman was filmed on location on an island in Ireland. It looks stunning and is the kind of place that I would love to visit someday. The actual film itself is quite unremarkable. The Northman is a classic revenge story that you have seen multiple times, but it doesn’t offer anything new, different, or interesting to a genre that most audiences are already familiar with.
The film goes for over two hours in length but there is very little character development in that duration. I never cared for the characters or their predicaments and if there was a rare moment that I was engaged, the film would end up going in another direction that would be less interesting to me, only hurting the film’s momentum and leaving me less invested than when I started.
Perhaps, The Northman’s biggest flaw is that it is a predictable story with uninteresting characters and the film is too long to hold interest. Possibly if it were a little shorter and spent a little more time getting to the point rather than meandering around aimlessly, then it could have been a better film.
The Northman is a visually impressive film with its cinematography, locations, and costuming, but sadly offers little else in the way of originality or anything else unique enough to make this film worthwhile. While it isn’t completely terrible (if you’re curious, by all means, still see it), it could have been improved immensely by having some slight amendments.
The Northman is in Australian cinemas now.