The Northman
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The Northman (2022)

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Prince Amleth is on the verge of becoming a man when his father is brutally murdered by his uncle, who kidnaps the boy’s mother. Two decades later, Amleth is now a Viking who’s on a mission to save his mother, kill his uncle and avenge his father.

Review:

While the credits were rolling, I turned to my shell-shocked husband and said, “It’s Götterdämmerung without the music!” That numbingly long Gesamtkunstwerk was his first and only opera when I met him (personally, I love the Ring Cycle!) but you might understand why he had vowed at that point to never see another opera.

I chose this movie for my first time back in a theater since Covid wreaked havoc on us all thinking that it would be a cheesy Viking epic with a lot of shots of Alexander Sarsgaard naked or semi-clothed. Well, I got that, though it was definitely a vanity-free performance in that all that muscled splendor was not presented in the Hollywood perfect hair/makeup/flattering lighting mode of True Blood. The performances were all of the scenery chewing kind, which doesn’t mean they were bad. My husband needs subtitles these days, but I told him he wasn’t missing much. It’s the same story (kind of) as Hamlet, but the dialogue isn’t Shakespeare.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more violent film. If you were sitting near me, I apologize for all the laughing, but honestly, it was so over the top I couldn’t help myself. That said, I am still thinking about this movie, scratching my head about it but also remembering in flashbacks both the violence and the terrible beauty of the landscapes and the visions.

So I didn’t hate it. But most women would. It felt overlong. The “music” was hard on the ears but appropriate to the bleak cinematography and brutal action. With gods like that, you can understand why people turned to Christianity or just decided to forgo religion entirely.

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