In the Viking world, fate is a force of nature that cannot be shaken, just like the weather. In New York earlier this month, she demonstrated that Providence sometimes has a good sense of humor. That’s when movie posters pop up on the subway, showing four serious-looking Viking rulers. “Conquer your destiny” was declared in large letters, Conquer your destiny, but under it there was a strange void. The title of the movie was missing. The blunder has spread and now everyone who has never heard of the movie knows about it: the campaign for the fierce Vikings was “The Northman” and the Internet smiled at its involuntary comedy. At least one marketing employee must have met her fate, she said.
Perhaps this error is not worth reporting later if it is not one of the most important films of the year: “The Northman” is by American director Robert Eggers, after he produced two of his works independently, “The Witch” (2015) and “The Witch” (2015). (2019) First Studio Film Cost Point: €90 Million Anticipation Pressure: Massive There hasn’t been a blockbuster movie with adventures of the Vikings in Hollywood for long, perhaps not since Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas competed against each other in The Vikings in 1958. But the evidence is good: even series like “Vikings” and the Marvel series about the superhero Thor have discovered Nordic themes for themselves.
The linguist found out how the Vikings would speak today if they appeared in a movie
Eggers chose the epic Amythus as a model for his epic, on which Shakespeare’s drama “Hamlet” is based. However, the Viking Prince Amelith is less capricious than his fellow. Revenge is the dominant principle in his world and becomes his destiny as he narrowly escapes from his power-hungry uncle. He killed his father, stole his mother, thus setting the nucleus for a brutal revenge attack. The 12-year-old escapes in a canoe and swears: “I’ll avenge you, Dad. I’ll save you, Mom. I’ll kill you, Uncle Vulner.” He directs his entire existence towards this goal and hopes to support the gods. The Eggers have assembled a star-studded cast around Alexander Skarsgård as Amleth: Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Willem Dafoe and Björk all put on a fitting performance between rolling thunder, ancient drums and folkloric summons to the gods in the foreground, cloud-covered mountains in Iceland.
The real and mythical worlds are one in the society in which Amelith was raised, and so Eggers does not differentiate between the two. Even in “The Witch”, the family of faithful settlers did not suspect the existence of witches and talk about goats, and the mermaid of “The Lighthouse” was just as real as the seagulls of the small island. Eggers is also known for the historical accuracy with which he constructs the worlds of his films. The settings, equipment, and costumes are meticulously coordinated with historians and archaeologists as are the language and dialect of his characters. For “The Witch” he used only historical sources in the dialogues and wrote “The Lighthouse” in a fluent seas dialect. For The Northman, he hired a linguist to solve a dilemma: How would 10th century Vikings sound modern English because they happen to be in an American production? Brendan Gunn gave these medieval Norse men and women their Scandinavian makeovers, and fitness trainer gave adult Prince Amelith a physique somewhere between the mass of a bear and the inherent agility of a wolf.
Experienced in battle, actor Alexander Skarsgård returned as an adult Amelith. As part of a raging horde of berserkers who roam the country as mercenaries, he’s more savage and bloodthirsty than human. In one ritual, these fighters roar themselves in trance, dressed in wolf skins and attack a village of the Ross tribe. In a crazy tracking shot, the viewer becomes a part of these savages, running with them as they climb the village fortifications, literally plowing the village and killing everyone who gets in their way. You sneak briefly behind the houses with them, only to be there again the next moment when an assailant hits an assailant off his horse, biting his neck, covered in blood.
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After the ambush, he smuggled himself among the captured slaves because they would be handed over to Fjölnir. The Northman is the ultimate station drama dressed up as a bloody and blunt revenge saga that would make Conan the Barbarian shiver. However, Eggers counteracts the gravity of this mythologically and psychologically charged escalation of masculinity by constantly putting Amalth’s revenge mission on the line. Because as clear as the moral compass is in this clear world view, it goes further and crazier with each obstacle that Ameleth overcomes on his way to his goal.
His worldview is that of a twelve-year-old, who himself later stated: “I know nothing but revenge.” Reflected in the female characters—along with Amelieth Godrin’s mother (Nicole Kidman) also the seer (Bjork)—this doomed determinism eventually becomes nihilistic and undermines the widespread display of masculinity. Slave Ross Olga, played by Anya Taylor-Joy as a mixture of a nature fairy and a herbal witch, does everything to soften his inevitability: “You break the bones of the strongest of men, but I can break their will,” she whispers to him with conspiracy and of course that means him too.
Northman, UK, USA 2022 – Director: Robert Eggers. Writers: Robert Eggers, Sejon. Casting: Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, William Dafoe, Claes Pang, Bjork. Global, 137 min. Theatrical release: April 21, 2022.