Synopsis: The Northman (2022) is focused on the life of Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard), a young prince. Following the brutal murder of his father, he swears revenge. Consequently, the journey of his vendetta sees many a bloody battle and fierce confrontations . . .
The Northman is a typical revenge story, in much the same way as Gladiator (2000) and other films of the genre. However, the plot becomes somewhat secondary to the setting of the dark tale. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, although it’s fair to say the plot isn’t particularly nuanced. That said, a decent twist, via an epiphanous discovery, occurs at an important juncture, changing the character journey of the movie, and giving fresh impetus. Things are very much character-driven, generally, which the twist works well because of. That helps with what would otherwise be a slightly stale story. The fact the film is based on an old myth, indeed the story Shakespeare’s Hamlet is based on is why there’s limited maneuverability. Hence, the rigidity of the plot’s shape is perhaps unavoidable.
The film’s strogest aspect is the acting, undoubtedly. Alexander Skarsgard does a fantastic job as the central protagonist. Skarsgard depicts pain and conflict superbly. His opposite number, and the film’s antagonist, Fjolnir is played by Claes Bang. Claeas Bang played Dracula in the BBC adaptation from a couple of years ago, which we reviewed. Bang did a great job of buiding a complex character.
Nicole Kidman plays an important role, as Amleth’s mother. Whilst she’s not in a great many scenes, she has genuine presence in those that she is. Nicole Kidman’s performane even helped to bring out vital traits of the character of Hamleth, too. Anya Taylor-Joy brought out yet another side of Amleth, through her powerful depication of his love interest, Olgas. She gave a strong showing, too.
CGI & Action
There was some really wonderful use of graphics and special effects in The Northman. For example, there wasn’t overt use of gratuitous violence, although there was much brutality. The violence we did see was done extemely smartly, and helped create the movie’s storyworld. It felt thematic, and built atmosphere. As history shows , there were many a violent chapter during those times.
The actual use of CGI was sparse, and mostly for “dream sequences”. That was a good choice, and made for an ethereal aura to the scenes that required that. The supernatural elements helped to encpompass a sense of myth, which worked perfectly fort this film.
The Northaman was a decent outing, and is well worth watching. For those seeking an all out action romp, this isn’t it. There are some great fight sequences, but this is much more of a cerebral affair. There is some great exploration of Norse mythology, and it appeared to be well researched and represented. One thing that jarred a little is there was the “Hollywood effect” in parts. There wasn’t the same feel to Robert Egger’s other films. There didn’t seem to be the same artistic freedom available here. But still, a soild offering.
The Northman is in cinemas now.
- CGI & Effects9.3
- Incidental Music8.5