Wiking – movie review –

The story begins innocently. Behold, Aurvandil returns to his kingdom (Ethan Hawke) who is accepted in joy and glory by the subjects. At home, Queen Gudrun is waiting for him (Nicole Kidman) and proud son of Amleth. The ruler is wounded and knows that his end is near, so he decides to prepare his heir to seize the throne, and he plans the last trip, during which he would like to die in battle. After all, there is nothing more worthy for a Viking than to die by an enemy’s sword. However, fate had other plans for him. One night he is murdered by his brother, who has long wanted to take over the kingdom. Fjölnir (Claes Bang) also decides to kill the ruler’s only son. He entrusts this task to his people who, however, fail. They are afraid to admit defeat, so they lie that the boy is resting at the bottom of the sea. Amleth vows revenge, wants to avenge her father, save her mother and kill Fjölnir. He recites it like a mantra for most of his life.

Does this story sound familiar? Yes of course. It was this Norse legend that William Shakespeare used when writing Hamlet. It has it all – family tragedy, revenge, blood, love and death. No wonder director Robert Eggers was also interested in her. However, in order to better understand the atmosphere of this legend, he invited the poet Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson to work on the script. And it must be admitted that this cooperation was great. The text has its own rhythm and perfectly shows how important faith in the old gods was for the people of the North. It was different from what the Slavs believed. Anyway, in Viking we have a clash of these two cultures. When our hero plunder a village during one of his trips for valuables and slaves, he meets Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), who will accompany him in the final revenge. He also has a vision with the Prophetess (great Björk).

Robert Eggers – same as in Lighthouse or in Sorcerers: A Fairy Tale from New England – took care of the details. It shows the Vikings in an interesting way. He runs away from large brass helmets with protruding horns or thick white fur. It shows them as warriors and pirates who plunder villages and are not afraid of death. Amleth himself is a revenge-fueled killing machine that accompanies him from an early age. The heat burning in him all these years had burned out practically all other feelings. Our hero unloads himself during the fight and may feel relieved for a moment. Although let’s be honest, it doesn’t last very long. Everything he does is pushing him towards his destiny, whether he wants to or not. Eggers shows that everyone has a choice and it is only up to us whether we will be hostages of our own assumptions and ideas, or whether we will be able to suppress the inner desire for revenge and lead a happy life. There is even a moment in the movie where we think Amleth will go off the road she once chose. However, this is only an illusion. You won’t win with destiny, or at least that’s what the creators suggest.

The director gives himself a lot of time to present this whole drama. We have no regrets for the scenes drenched in blood, in which he vividly shows what happens to Amleth’s enemies. Alexander Skarsgård he is brilliant in this role. We can see the fatigue in his face and the rage in his eyes. We quickly realize that only one thought keeps him alive. He wants to deal with the man who took not only his father, but also his whole life. Condemned to eternal wandering, pushed into the abyss of hatred. His mind is haunted by all sorts of visions that push him even more toward fulfilling his destiny. This darkness brightens a little the appearance of Olga played by a very talented Anya Taylor-Joy. The director is great at introducing this character, but when we get attached to her, he decides to get rid of her. As if he was afraid that he would distract the viewer from the main plot. He does it more or less in the last act which I think is the weakest. Eggers tries to stuff too many things into it, which makes the pace uneven and boredom begins to creep into the plot. The entire movie is 2 hours 20 minutes long. I have the impression that it could be easily shortened to a full 2 ​​hours.

Viking it’s a visual feast. It’s hard to take your eyes off this movie. All thanks to the photos taken by Jarin Blaschke, who works with Eggers on every film. The operator does not disappoint and this time. Applause is also due to the entire artistic division responsible for the set design, because it looks great. Thanks to this attention to detail, the viewer is immersed in this world from the very first minutes. Added to this is great music, which in many places even more conquers the atmosphere of horror.

And don’t get me wrong. Viking it’s a great movie, but it can’t beat a genius Lighthousewhich does not mean that Robert Eggers lowered the level. He just wanted to fit too much into the story, and he lost sight of the main plot in places. However, it is still a great work that you have to go to the cinema to. You will not fully feel this atmosphere on the small screen. Believe me, especially the final act will make a great impression on you.


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