Fans of Alexander Skarsgard love him for his role as Eric Northman from the HBO series True Blood. Take his performance in that series, multiply it by ten, and you have his performance as Amleth in The Northman. A truly epic film, Skarsgard is the key to the The Northman’s triumph.
Beyond Skarsgard as Amleth, the remaining cast of The Northman is unparalleled and grand. Nicole Kidman is Queen Gudrun, Claes Bang is Fjolnir the Brotherless, Ethan Hawke is King Aurvandil War-Raven, Anya Taylor-Joy is Olga of the Birch Forest, Björk is Seeress, and Willem Dafoe is Heimir the Fool.
The Northman follows the Viking era tale of Amleth, whose father, King Aurvandil, is killed by Fjolnir while Amleth is just a boy. Amleth becomes a slave in several different countries, but his life focus remains the same—to avenge his father’s death by killing Fjolnir and by freeing Fjolnir’s slaves. Those slaves include Amleth’s love, Olga. It becomes clear that Amleth is not afraid to die to accomplish these tasks.
The director of The Northman, Robert Eggers, is known for thrillers with unexpected shocking moments that turn into exquisite works of art. The Northman can almost feel overwhelming at times. The faded cinematography of the cold mountains and the dangerous storms, interspersed with moments of terror, make for an immersive and exhilarating cinematic experience.
The Northman is simply phenomenal. The acting—especially Skarsgard’s—is spellbinding, and Eggers has taken his direction to new heights. It is a virtual Viking era rollercoaster ride that is not to be missed. Four stars for The Northman.