Exactly the title: go see The Northman tonight! The new film by Robert Eggers, director who came to the fore for The Witch and later with The Lighthouse, is a truly enjoyable and enjoyable film, which mixes the original legend of Saxo Grammaticus (thanks Seeker R) or, more “ignorantly”, Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The following review is spoiler-free, so you can very well read it without fear of ruining the experience.
Once upon a time there was a hero already seen
Wanting to tell a story already told several times, The Northman on paper certainly cannot strike for its originality. In fact, we have a hero, an enemy, a divine weapon and some stylistic features repeated whenever we talk about the "hero's path". Luke Skywalker, a young orphan of parents, follows the teachings of a mentor to achieve his role as a hero and thus be able to avenge his father. Thomas Anderson, known online as Neo, must follow Morpheus' dictates to aspire to become what he is meant to be: the chosen one. Harry Potter, a young man destined to do great things, must fight the Dark Lord by following Dumbledore's teachings.
All these stories tell the journey of a hero and his extreme difficulties, with some key stages. There is an initiation - in which we know the basics of the journey - and there is a deeper cave - where something happens that leads the hero to make powerful choices and change his fate. The Northman does not depart from this structure and, masterfully, divides itself into chapters. Although Eggers has accustomed us to complex stories to decipher, The Northman appears to us as the “most interpretable” chapter, while leaving the creative power of dialogue (many of which refer to Shakespeare) and direction unchanged.
A huge acting test!
On this background already written giants move. Ethan Hawk, Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe play truly masterful parts and, even with the dubbing nibbling on part of the acting skills, they are very good. In a short time they manage to condense characteristic characters and their every move appears as something studied but extremely natural.
The three protagonists of the story, Alexander Skarsgard, Anya Taylor-Joy and Claes Bang are definitely well done. Keeping aside the dubbing of Letizia Ciampa which, in my opinion, accentuates too much the Slavic accent of Olga, the character of the actress, the three maintain the high level. To enclose these gigantic actors is a masterful direction; in fact we are far from the narrow, claustrophobic shots of The Witch, with The Northman everything is open, vast. The landscapes of Iceland appear to us as a frame halfway between the dreamlike and the real for the events, while the scenography does not miss a beat and gives us a fairly historically accurate version of Iceland of the 900.
A solid 8 out of 10, if I were to pack a cinematic opinion on the rigid number scale, for Eggers' new film. Leaving aside the plot and getting carried away by the almost pictorial shots, we are faced with a great arthouse film.