The Northman – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Northman – Vikings & Revenge: A Shakespearean Tale of Blood

What is it that drives our appeal for story?  There are many mediums for stories to be told, but what is it that draws us into the journey of film?  From visual spectacles to a simple tale of love, the appeal is an auspicious feeling of our own delight.  In this review, I look at a film that spins intrigue in simplicity.  The Northman might play along a linear path, but it becomes blood-soaked journey that defines a legend of revenge.      

The story follows Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard), a man defined by destiny.  With only one purpose in life, he will stop at nothing to avenges his father’s death.  On the surface, this film is a basic tale of revenge.  You have your main character (Amleth) that witnesses the death of his father, King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) at the hands of his uncle, Florlnir (Claes Bang).  After escaping, Amleth professes he will avenge his father someday.  We flash forward years later to find him living among other Viking clans and raiding the Lands of Rus.  After the recent raids, he learns that his Uncle is alive and living in Iceland married to his mother, Gudrun (Nicole Kidman).  Through some convenient plot devices, he makes his way to the island and disguises himself so that he can fulfill his destiny.  On the surface, there is a lot of predictability and loose characterization.  As this journey continues to unfold, it is that simplicity of approach that allows the director (Robert Eggers) to build a world that encompass Norse mythology and Shakespearean elements.  The blending of methods allows for the visceral nature to define an era of Vikings in the grey.  There is a raw tenacity of righteousness, building that idea of ‘kill or be killed’ through familial appeal and personal gains.  Within that general setup of revenge, you see the auspicious nature of the characters, noticing there is two-fold approach to the reasons for challenging others (in the film).  Within this approach, it allows for Amleth to represent that culture by showcasing a flawed individual of questionable guise.  The rule of engagement is defined on personal choices, which reflects in a pseudo moral code of violence.  This compliments the raw action and subtle conversations of each situation.  There are blinds upon his purpose, but an actualization through his duty.  Is it prophecy or delusion?  We see this question blend between visual aesthetics and raw human detail, allowing for the growth of an emotional journey in the tale of revenge. 

As Amleth methodically moves along his destined path, the journey starts to trail through unforeseen circumstances.  After he encounters some other people, relationships unfold to add levity to his ideals.  As revelations come into play, it evolves the attitude in his purpose.  Seeing additional layers lift characterization above the tropes, it evolves the experience to something more poignant in the obvious outcomes.  As everything comes to one final confrontation, it leads into a finale that infuses Norse mythology with hyped action to create a climax that represents Norse myths and legends.  The Northman is a tale of revenge that becomes unique in its own right.  If you are fan of the director, Norse mythology or tales of revenge, this is one for you.  It is worth the full price of admission.   

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *