Film: The Northman
Plot: From visionary director Robert Eggers comes The Northman, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father’s murder.
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, and Björk
Director: Robert Eggers
Release Date: April 22, 2022
Studio: Focus Features
HCA Overall Grade: A-

Sara Clements says, “The Northman is an epic tale soaked in blood, fire, and fury. A story that inspired Shakespeare, Robert Eggers crafts a film that spotlights why that is, while filling it with his style. Every technical aspect, from the camera to the score, elevates and amazes. A feast of mythicism.”

Grade: A

Maggie Lovitt says, “The Northman, coupled with last year’s oft-overlooked The Green Knight, stands as a stark reminder that there is still a place in cinema for gorgeous, inspired odysseys, rife with literary allusions, deep-seated spiritual meanings, and an exploration of complex human emotions. Vengeance is a potent drug, more deadly than any hallucinogenic tonic, Berserker, or rabid dog. It comes in the dark of the night and strikes right at the heart of even the strongest Viking.”

Grade: A+

Zachary Pope says, “Robert Eggers has crafted one for the ages. The Northman is a cinematic epic that blew my mind from start to finish. Lavishing cinematography that brings to life this era, visceral violence that adds to the world, and a jaw-dropping third act. So much to say and all of it to love.”

Grade: A+

Zoe Rose Bryant says, “The Northman is an epic the likes of which we hardly see in Hollywood anymore. Staggering storytelling on an unprecedented scale for Robert Eggers is complemented by Jarin Blaschke’s consummate cinematography and powerhouse performances from Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, and Anya Taylor-Joy. This is the movie Eggers was born to make. Stylistically and thematically, it showcases the auteur operating at the peak of his creative powers, turning in his most daring work to date and finding supreme success fashioning a raucous revenge saga that stirs the soul as much as it stuns one’s senses.”

Grade: A

Catherine Springer says, “The Northman is writer/director Robert Eggers’ cinematic exorcism, a film meant to chill you to your marrow, haunt your dreams, clench your fist, and boil your blood. It is two hours and fifteen minutes of violent, animalistic ritual, a testosterone-fueled orgy of masculinity, a film so dark, dirty, raw, and hardcore it makes The Revenant look like Jane Austen.”

Grade: B+

Peggy Marie says, “With words floating about such as ‘masterpiece’ it’s difficult to say you don’t feel the same way as then there is wrath to face. The film itself fills the screen with toxic masculinity, myths, sorcery, rage, much too much grunting, and oddly, romance – as it takes turns with itself, taking itself much too seriously at times, while at others the few spoken one-liners are delivered so absurdly that the audience laughs, where it’s not meant to do so.”

Grade: D

Terence Johnson says, “Robert Eggers has established himself as a master of mood and tone and with The Northman gets a chance to expand his canvas. This is one of the best-directed movies of the year so far. Alexander Skarsgård wisely uses his physicality and acting chops to seamlessly weave together his character’s inner struggle and psychological motivations. I was lucky enough to see this in Dolby Atmos and I’d encourage you to run to see it in the best theater you can for the excellent sound design and epic cinematography.”

Grade: A-

Will Mavity says, “An unrelentingly bleak, morally ambiguous and gruesome anti-crowdpleaser. Merciless rebuttal to the ‘revenge is satisfying and morally right’ movies like Gladiator. Eggers’ world-building and commitment to detail are epic, as is his staging of action, often through complex long takes. Cinematography, sound, makeup, and production/costume design are all top-notch. Skarsgard gives a compelling lead performance, but the other characters could have been fleshed out a bit more. Plotting itself is by the numbers, but manages to buck narrative conventions by the end.”

Grade: B+

Chauncey K. Robinson says, “The Northman is a film steeped in Icelandic folklore and history. There are so many references and allusions to greater tales interwoven within the movie. It is a wild scenic ride that can be enjoyable if taken at surface level. The problem that comes into play is that there’s so much more below that surface that feels almost locked away behind a fortress of sparse dialogue and explanation. The Northman, sadly, isn’t as inviting as it needs to be for viewers wanting to explore the world the film presents to them.”

Grade: B+

Erik Anderson says, “The Northman is a spectacular saga, forged in myth and truth, mud and blood. Alexander Skarsgård was born to play Amleth (aka Hamlet), Nicole Kidman eats her role alive and should be doing more things like this than boring biopics. Claes Bang is fantastic too.”

Grade: B+

Dan Murrell says, “Robert Eggers’ third film is both his most mainstream and proof that studios will still bankroll ambitious projects without forcing them to be compromised. Blending Norse mythology and a singular vision, The Northman is a brutal, bloody revenge tale with a surrealistic edge. While not all audiences may be drawn to the film’s extremes, it’s one of the year’s most ambitious films, and those ambitions largely pay off handsomely. Alexander Skarsgard carries the film, but Nicole Kidman’s performance is a real stand-out, her best onscreen work in quite a while.”

Grade: A-

Landon Johnson says, “Robert Eggers brilliantly blends genres in a way that satisfies the pallet of the most diverse audience. Equal parts horror and action, Eggers achieves new heights with his superb directorial execution. Alexander Skarsgård delivers a powerful punch of a performance. But Nicole Kidman is extraordinarily dynamic, layered, and offers a tour de force presentation that’s impossible to ignore. Anyone who thought Nicole Kidman should have won an Oscar for her role in “Being The Ricardos” may just see her reappear as a major player in next year’s Awards Season. As far as I’m concerned, The Northman is the crowing masterpiece to Eggers’ eclectic filmography.”

Grade: A

John Nguyen says, “The Northman is uncompromising, raw, and savage. It’s a ruthless revenge story set during the Viking Age, and Alexander Skarsgård is a beast of a man.”

Grade: A-

Clarence Moye says, “The Northman shows Robert Eggers blending his intense and eccentric style with an old school historic epic and adding heavy doses of Shakespeare. Beautifully filmed and extraordinary gory, this is a film you cannot forget.”

Grade: A-

Alexander Robinson says, “It’s good to know that despite having more money to work with, The Northman still feels like it came from the same director of The Lighthouse. Robert Eggers was given $90 million to make a Viking revenge film that is very much a traditional action movie, yet keeps some of the weird traits that Eggers’ previous movie was known for. It features gorgeous cinematography, surreal imagery, intense performances from its stellar cast, and plenty of goofy moments that would normally be distracting had anyone else directed the film. On the other side, it’s his most mainstream movie with a level of action and violence that feels inspired by Game of Thrones and 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. Though it runs about seventeen minutes longer than a movie like this should, there’s a lot more about The Northman that works and is another notch in the fantastic career that Robert Eggers has ahead of him.”

Grade: A-

Aaron Neuwirth says, “Coming as a follow-up to The Witch and The Lighthouse, this $90 million effort packs all of that budget on screen while still holding onto the off-the-wall qualities that make Eggers a standout genre filmmaker.”

Grade: B+

Maria Estevez says, “A wild portrait of the Viking men, dark and gore, but also emotional and brave. A true essay about nature and humans. Fascinating. Eggers evolve as a director to a more mature form.”

Grade: A-

James White says, “Robert Eggers of The Witch and The Lighthouse enjoys his biggest canvas yet and crams it full of all the mystical backstory, blood, gore, and vengeance you might hope for. It leans a little too much into the brutality (yes, even given the setting and story), but Alexander Skarsgard is committed and Claes Bang makes for a villain who is more than just a daddy-slaying cipher. Take the whole family! (Okay, don’t). But it’s one that will stick in your mind the way an ax sticks in someone’s stomach.”

Grade: B+

Josie Melendez says, “Robert Eggers shines as a folkloric master with his latest release, The Northman Once the film starts, it doesn’t let you go until its final second. It is action-packed with relentless pacing that intensifies the experience for the viewer. The blood and guts are accessorized by Eggers’ entrapping writing, promising memorable performances from both Alexander Skarsgård and Anya Taylor-Joy. Come for the epic and artistic battles, stay for the brilliant film score.”

Grade: A-

Stacey Yvonne says, “Listen, I’m not gonna lie, this movie is bleak yet wondrous and it’s nearly 2.5 hours of beautiful but perpetually dirty people who can never have a moment of peace and make terrible decisions. Not to mention it’s cold has Nordic Hamlet’s heart and yet there is fire everywhere. It also touches on important and timely themes like white slavery and royal incest.”

Grade: C+

Kate Sánchez says, “The Northman is a FEAST. Visually striking, narratively stunning, it’s a complete immersion into a Norse story.”

Grade: A+

Jeff Ewing says, “Robert Eggers’ The Northman is a stunning tale of betrayal and obsessive revenge. With excellent worldbuilding and a strong otherworldly feeling saturating every frame, it’s one of the most transporting, magical, and action-soaked films in some time. Eggers delivers a can’t-miss cinematic outing.”

Grade: A

Dewey Singleton says, “The Northman will undoubtedly resonate with most cinema fans as a whole. It doesn’t take much to imagine that ‘Film Twitter’ will be all aflutter watching Robert Eggers’ latest work. Whether the film connects with most movie fans is a different story altogether. Director Robert Eggers takes many liberties as he tells this Viking revenge tale. He certainly doesn’t shy away from Nordic Folklore which to those who haven’t read up on it will come off as odd at best. If dark imagery of witches, grown men acting like animals, and flying Valkyries are your jam, this is right up your alley.”

Grade: B

Jami Philbrick says, “The Northman is brilliant, beautiful and bloody filmmaking at its best! Director Robert Eggers delivers an epic and completely captivating movie featuring a brilliant career-defining performance from Alexander Skarsgård.”

Grade: A

The Northman is now playing exclusively in theaters

 

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