Amleth as he flees from the people who killed his father. (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

“The Northman” movie review

Robert Eggers’ excitingly twisted third feature film, “The Northman” takes audiences on a gory and wild ride from start to end.

The film follows a young prince who seeks revenge against the man who killed his father and took his mother captive. Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicole Kidman star in this high-intensity elevated horror.

This is not a comedy, like the poor old couple sitting next to me thought. No, “The Northman” is many things, but comedy is not one of them. The gentleman loudly realized that after the first brutal on-screen death. I feared they may have entered the wrong theater.

After Amleth witnesses his Uncle Fjölnir murder his father, King Aurvandil played by Ethan Hawke, the boy prince must flee out of his homeland, leaving behind his poor mother, played by Nicole Kidman, who was captured by Fjölnir.

Years pass and that sweet innocent boy is now a muscle-popping adult man, played by Skarsgård. He is with a group who found and raised him from youth. The group is full of animalistic warriors who raid small villages and take prisoners of those they do not kill and sell them off as slaves.

He hears the slaves are sent to a farm that his Uncle resides at after getting his throne ripped out from under him by another. Blinded by his mission of vengeance, he sneaks on the boat disguised as a slave and meets Olga, played by Anya Taylor-Joy.

They draw a close bond as time goes on and they scheme together about how to kill Fjölner and save his mother, who is still alive and now married to his Uncle. When he saves their son, Gunnar, the unrecognized Amleth gains their loyalty.

With supernatural forces at work, Amleth is driven to seek out the vengeance he promised his father he would carry out. He receives a darkly cursed sword, to which he is destined to duel his Uncle in a lake of fire, as foretold by a seeress played by none other than the famous singer Björk.

“The Northman” is a bloody, exciting movie in the best ways possible. Yes, the gore and blood factor might be too much for some, but the stunning visuals made for an excellent and enjoyable watch.
Skarsgård showcased why he is such a great physical, yet dramatic actor. You can tell by watching his performance he fell deep into the exploration of the character, and really tried to play it as authentically as he could.

Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of the cunning witch Olga made for an odd pairing with the sexual grit of Skarsgård’s performance as Amleth, but they still had passionate chemistry despite a noticeable age difference.

This macabre film is not for everyone, but those who appreciate artistry within the horror genre will be happily satisfied with Egger’s new release. It was his opportunity to show what he could do with a larger budget and accessibility to some of the finest talent in Hollywood right now.

Shock and awe in the best possible way, “The Northman” takes the revenge story to a whole new level with unexpected twists and turns that leave the audience bewitched and riveted. “The Northman” is playing at most local theaters.


  • Jordan Jones

    Jordan Jones was hired as the Culture reporter for the Mesa Legend in January of 2020. She is in her second semester at MCC, and she plans to transfer to ASU and get an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Film Study and Art History. With her degrees and passion for cinema, Jordan intends to become a film archivist.

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