Director; Robert Eggers. Starring; Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy. Rated R. Color. 136 Minutes.
What a chore of a movie “The Northman” is. Talk about fake intellectualism. Although I will give director Robert Eggers two tips of my hat. One, this is his best film so far (not saying much). Two, he keeps it on brand. Very beautifully shot movies with zero purpose to exist. You do not have to learn from every film, but Eggers, for some reason, wants you to learn something. What that is continues to elude me.
Simple plot rundown. Ethan Hawke plays King Aurvandil, leader of a Viking tribe returning home from a raid across the sea to see his wife Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) and son Amleth. Complete with wolf chants and mud diving, the king and his son bond as they look towards the future. Too bad the King’s brother Fjolnir The Brotherless (Claes Bang) is jealous of his elders power as he incites an uprising that has the king beheaded. The young Amleth is able to escape and vows to avenge his father’s death.
Many a moon later, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard) is all grown up and enslaved by another viking tribe. He is by far the greatest warrior the slave traders have ever seen, even defeating the great Tooth-Gnasher (Hafpor Bjonsson aka ‘The Mountain’ from “Game of Thrones” fame). Along his slaving days he falls in love with Olga of the Birch Forest (Anya Taylor-Joy). She stands out to the crazed viking slave Amleth after a brutal raid on an opposing village in which other attackers are burning homes and raping women. From there, the witch and the brute will get revenge on their enemies while also falling in love.
AND… That’s it. Just like all of Eggers films, “The Northman” is not profound in any way. It certainly looks so, but it is fake. What is the point of this movie? It is not pure carnage entertainment. It does not take a look at an ancient piece of history in a unique way. This movie is Eggers telling everyone how brilliant of a craftsman he is. Brilliant by shoving Willem Dafoe’s dead corpses’ head up another characters own ass. Spoiler alert, you should not have to blatantly tell your audience that by shoving it up our asses’s. Visually, yes “The Northman” is beautiful, yet it tries so hard to show you how beautiful it is with the landscapes that half the time does not mean anything towards enhancing the story. And do not get me started with how ridiculous the “300” style naked sword fight by a volcano at the end is.
Whomever your best “film nerd” friend is, I am one, I would guess they will have many points about how “The Northman” is amazing! I am here to say NO! It is rare that I get to see a movie in the theaters with the other Greg these days (if we got paid we’d see all of them together of course). Often times his amazing wife Julia joins us. She said no when it came to seeing this movie. To your credit Julia, I wish I said no as well.
Suck Factor: 6 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie Really SUCKS!)
The SUCK FACTOR! How it works. We’ve flipped the script on the standard rating system. If you make a masterpiece say “The Godfather” you receive 0 SUCKS! If you make total garbage such as any Michael Bay film you receive 7 out of 7, meaning your movie really SUCKS!