The Northman – review. We needed such a Viking

movies and series
April 20, 2022, 2:15 pm

Robert Eggers’ Viking promised to be a great epic cinema – and it lives up to this promise in excess. It is a story of revenge clothed in mythological garments and going beyond the standard scheme.

Robert Eggers has gained a considerable reputation for his films The Witch: A Fairy Tale of New England and Lighthouse. In his new production, the American focuses on a story full of swing, which becomes a movie myth and presents plots much richer than the trailers could indicate. If you plan to go to the cinema in the near future, be sure to visit Viking.

The fictional framework of the film is Hamlet in the Viking version. The comparison to The Lion Kingespecially as Willem Dafoe’s character Heimir acts as a spiritual guide much like Rafiki in Disney’s animation. In turn, the fantastic elements, thanks to which Viking it bears the hallmarks of a myth, and the main character’s maturation is reminiscent of The Green Knight. Add to that a lot of brutal, intense action that truly captures the world of Nordic warriors and you have the image of the new Eggers production.

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Wiking, 2022, directed by Robert Eggers

Trailers Viking they did not announce anything new to the standard revenge tale. So I thought it would only justify the violence watched – and yet it had other tasks as well. Eggers and Sjón emphasize the destruction brought about by hatred and, following the example of both ancient and Shakespearean dramas, show man’s struggle against his own destiny. It guarantees emotions. Of course, it is also possible not to delve into the psychological portraits of heroes, whose actions are strongly determined by the stigma of the past, and simply enjoy a spectacular show. Only in this way you will miss the dramatic qualities of the film and the message behind it.

In addition Viking may not seem as intense as it should. Eggers takes his time with the story. Yes, the screening is accompanied by a loud, dynamic soundtrack, eager to act. The violence is staggering, only the freeze frame is missing to see the drastic details. They are Vikings, so there is also room for strange rituals with sacrifices in the form of living people – more sensitive people should avoid this film. Nevertheless, these over two hours also consist of a gradual thickening of the action and dialogues that build an amazing atmosphere Viking.

The whole thing is mythological. The story has been divided into parts, each with its own title, and the fantasy is more or less clearly entering the world of the Nordic peoples. Sometimes it is a scene taking place in an alternative reality, other times it is predictions, symbols or visions. Viking it shows, step by step, the path of a great figure who will find an ally in a Slavic witch and hope to one day cross the gates of Valhalla. But again, be careful about pigeonholing – the fantastic elements can be explained by styling and delirious dreams.

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Wiking, 2022, directed by Robert Eggers

This is an interesting effect, because on the one hand we get signals that destiny and supernatural forces should be taken seriously, and on the other – some scenes can be viewed from the perspective of an incredulous viewer. While watching it, it happened to me to think that there was a time when people believed in really weird and fucked up things. Viewed from the side, the cult depicted here appears to be a collective madness that has spread to the entire community. At the same time, the level of detail and convincing acting are delightful – almost as if I were watching a dark documentary from the lives of ancient people.

The narrative narrative of surrealism that appears here and there fits in well with naturalism. One does not exclude the other, especially when we feel the cold Icelandic climate on our backs or we watch a pampered attack, some of which have been presented in a longer, single shot. I would only stick to one fragment made with the use of computer graphics (family tree), which looks artificial compared to the other scenes. You can easily turn a blind eye to him, although he slightly knocked me out of the session.

Alexander Skarsgård has already been proclaimed a beast, and I’m not surprised at all. Viking required the actors to absolutely empathize with their characters, believing even in the transformation of wolves. The heroes are filled with aggression and religious madness, so they shout, commit violence and perform mysterious, magical gestures. Skarsgård did even more, for at one point he showed a desperation that struck me even more than the savagery and savagery. The entire cast can be praised for overall authenticity, but most notably Nicole Kidman (oh, would fit the role of Cersei) and Claes Bang with a stern fighter look.

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Wiking, 2022, directed by Robert Eggers

Compared to Eggers’ work to date, a change can be noticed towards an epic spectacle full of panache, but one thing for this filmmaker remains the same – looking at the dark side of the human soul. Besides, the American clearly likes myths (Lighthouse after all, he is immersed in Greek mythology), darkness and people giving meanings to inexplicable phenomena. Viking next to Lighthouse it’s my favorite Eggers movie – I can’t say which is better.

When I was fresh after seeing it, I was asked if Viking I liked it, I could only say a short “Yes”. I had to gather my thoughts after such a striking experience and emerging from the cruel world of the northern people. There is no similarly ambiguous story behind this screening as in Lighthousebut it’s not a simple standard for a revenge tale either. I would say that this is a myth about the inheritance we carry from our parents and leave to our descendants, and from which it is very difficult to escape.

In addition, however, we are dealing with an excellent cinema that is on par with such classics as Gladiator. Viking you just have to see for yourself.

Rating: 9/10


I am a fan of Robert Eggers films and consider him one of the best contemporary filmmakers. I appreciate his productions for the atmosphere and the possibility of my own interpretation of the story. Viking it caught my attention from the beginning, and the first trailer strengthened the expectation – I haven’t felt such an intensity for a long time. The first minutes of the screening gave me goose bumps and it was already clear then that I would leave the cinema delighted.

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