The Northman (Wiking), i.e. a staggering dose of human atavisms

The brothers will fight
they will kill each other
sisters’ sons defile the bond of blood;
hard time for earth,
age of adultery,
the age of wars, the age of swords,
split discs,
the age of the winds, the age of the wolves,
and the world will fall apart;
man does not forgive man.

Gylfagynning (Edda Prosaic)

The last frame. Writings. People are still sitting. Silence. A good minute passes and only the first spectator sluggishly leaves the comfortable seat. I encountered such a situation a long time ago after the screening. Maybe after the screening of “Volhynia”? I don’t remember exactly… Anyway, it was something!

I admit to a personal weakness. It is because my passion is that the subject related to the oldest history of the Germanic peoples is my passion. It is not about some kind of germanophilia. Oh no! Simply and simply, in the treasury of history left behind by this branch of Indo-Europeans, elements have survived that cannot be found anywhere else. Of course, this does not mean that the other communities inhabiting our continent lived somehow less colorful, more modest, quieter. The thing is that the fathers of our civilization, that is, the Greeks and Romans, in times illuminated by written sources had already largely lost their innate primitivism and naturalness, and our ancestors (Slavs) were not lucky with literate observers. It was different with the Germans. Especially those from the North… So I was waiting impatiently for the screening of the new production by Robert Eggers. Admittedly, his previous works, ie “The Witch” and “Lighthouse”, did not knock me to my knees, but getting acquainted with them was not a waste of time. Well the wine the older the … And I must admit that I was not disappointed.

The Northman is not only an orgy of stunning shots of natural wonders. It is not only very efficient camera management and masterful editing. It’s not just a gap-free scenario. It’s also not only high-class acting (ah !, that otherworldly face of Willem Dafoe and the true Shakespearean artistry of Alexander Skarsgård). These are not only scenes in which the more sensitive viewer should close their eyes. It is not only the reverence of the reality of life from over a thousand years ago. It is not only … It is above all an extremely powerful performance devoted to everything that is primal, terrifying and dark in us. It is true that the story is not devoid of clear interjections, but these are only footnotes, written with a small “pop”. After all, it lacks cheerful messages known from – otherwise great – “Gladiator” or “Braveheart”. Everything we know from the beautiful, but at the same time brutal and passionate notations contained in such seething first-fruits poems as “Beowulf”, “Herwarsaga” or “Song of the Nibelungs”, the authors of the film managed to show in an ideal way. It is enough to mention that Eggers, by committing his latest work, ridiculed, trampled into the mud, pacified such “hits” as the latest Netflix series “Vikings”, which is full of absurdities, stupidity, lies and politically correct subliminal messages.

I’m not going to reveal the content of the movie. Let me just mention that in my opinion “The Northman” should be on the shelf with the greatest epic works in the history of cinema. It is a difficult, gloomy, scary, but extremely intriguing film that is thought-provoking and therefore worth watching. I would also like to add that one of the most important messages conveyed by this picture is that we should not forget that quite recently our world looked like it was presented by an American director. Strength, violence, evil, vengeance, betrayal, bondage, lying, appearances, blood, revenge …

We live in a really good time. R. Eggers reminded us about it …


Images used only as a right to quote under Art. 29. The Act on Copyright and Related Rights.

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