|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||The Northman|
|Production country:||USA 2022|
|Running time:||Approx. 137 min.|
As a child, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) had to watch as his father, Viking king Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke), was brutally murdered by his brother Fjölnir (Claes Bang). Since then, Amleth has vowed to avenge his father and free his mother Gudrun (Nicole Kidman). Meanwhile, the boy has become a merciless fighter who no longer seems to feel any compassion or love. When he learns that Fjölnir lives in Iceland, he allows himself to be taken there as a slave. And soon the time seems to have come to finally bring his father's murderer to his just punishment...
With "The Northman" director Robert Eggers delivers the final proof that he is a true exceptional director, especially on a visual level. As with the acclaimed works "The Witch" and "The Lighthouse", Eggers has here brought images to the screen that possess enormous, almost hypnotic power. The fascinating landscape shots in composition with a rough set and perfectly used effects result in a total work of art that simply belongs on the big screen.
But besides the visual power of the film, it must also be said that this Viking revenge epic, like Eggers' earlier works, is not a mainstream product. The film is dirty, brutal and in places really unpleasant to look at. But what I had certain problems with in "Der Leuchtturm" works really well for me this time. Because that's exactly how an authentic Viking film has to be. Somewhere between realism and mythology, Eggers repeatedly lets fascinating beauty meet relentless brutality. This is not very accessible - but precisely because of this, it seems much more believable than other Viking films.
Alexander Skarsgård is simply great as a fighter driven by revenge. His portrayal lies somewhere between animalistic rage and an overdose of testosterone. And underneath - extremely well hidden - lies an enormous sadness and longing for love that only reveals itself in brief moments. This character could not have been portrayed better. Nicole Kidman is also excellent, especially in the final act. The rest of the ensemble, most notably Claes Bang and Anya Taylor-Joy, are a wee bit overshadowed by these two, but there is no one here who is not great in their own way (even if the accomplishment often lies in finding the character in question extremely repulsive).
"The Northman" is not an easy film, no question. But if you are willing to engage with the brutality and the somewhat unwieldy character, you should not miss seeing this film on the big screen. Because only here can the work fully develop its visual strength. A clear case of: Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp