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Fantasy - Sword'n Sandals

The Northman (2022)

Duration2h 16m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 15 
Source of storyNordic myths in the way of Hamlet.
DirectorRobert Eggers
Writers/ScriptRobert Eggers, Sjón
StarringAlexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Björk
RatingsIMDb: 7.9/10 by 21,606 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 89% by 240 reviewers. Review2view: 2/10.

Elevator Pitch: You know how Hamlet goes? Well this is a different version of the same tale. A Nordic boy, Amleth, sees his father, a king, killed by his uncle and is able to escape, swearing revenge. He grows up and becomes a warrior in a band who attacks villages somewhere and takes the inhabitants to be sold as slaves. After a successful attack he learns that his uncle has been deposed and has become a farmer on Iceland where some slaves at to go. He joins the slave ship, meet a young woman, and becomes a slave on the uncles farm. No-one recognises him. With the assistance of the young woman he begins to create mayhem in the settlement, but unknown to him his mother had been in on the plot, so what next?

Content: There is quite a bit of almost nudity and distant and obscured sex. Essential to the plot are a number of visions experienced by Amleth at one point allowing him to acquire a sort of magic sword. At various times there are explicit unpleasant violent confrontations, one involving a sort of game which seems to be a combination of lacrosse, quiddich and American football. Amleth distinguishes himself, and is rewarded by his uncle (unknowingly). Almost everything takes place in deep mud and in the dark and there is a lot of shouting.

A View: Where to start? Right from the get-go I found the dialogue wooden and the deliveries by virtually all the cast members odd. Accented English ranged from Norwegian to Orkney with touches of Scottish Central Belt and Northern Irish in between. Stylistically I could not quite square the surreal aspects of the presentation with the constant mud, grit and blood. I personally have a bit of difficulty with shouting and constant darkness, so the thought uppermost in my mind, almost throughout, was – When is it going to end?

Here are three other medieval films you might choose to miss: Centurion, Hammer of the Gods, Prince Valiant.    

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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