Robert Eggers has done it again with “The Northman.”
The writer-director’s third feature film behind “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse” tells a Viking revenge story based on the same Scandinavian folk tale that inspired Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
The star-studded cast — including Alexander Skarsgård, Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Ralph Ineson, and Björk — plus the grueling 87-day production, have propelled “The Northman” to a status of intrigue even before its release.
IndieWire’s Chief Film Critic David Ehlrich wrote, “All you need to know about The Northman — a $90 million viking revenge movie directed by Robert Eggers — is that every single moment of it feels like a $90 million viking revenge movie directed by Robert Eggers.”
While IndieWire Executive Editor of Film Kate Erbland said the film had her “flipping between ‘HELL YES’ and ‘OH NO’ with startling regularity,” Deputy Managing Editor Ryan Lattanzio felt the film perhaps didn’t push things far enough (“needed more incest”).
Journalist Jack King, whose work as appeared in GQ and Vulture, noted, “It’s a crying shame that THE NORTHMAN has been criminally mishandled because it’s precisely what blockbuster cinema should aspire to, and still has the potential to be. Formally audacious but welcoming; easy to follow but not, simply, a guided tour. Five big ol’ stars. Björk!”
Unilad entertainment editor Cameron Frew called “The Northman” an “incredible” movie, tweeting, “Like, fall-to-your-knees, ‘HOW the HELL did they do this?’ good.” The “breathtakingly gnarly” film “deserves to be a massive hit.”
Rolling Stone senior critic David Fear compared “The Northman” to a Frank Frazetta painting. “I give it 5/5 cawing ravens,” he tweeted.
Variety reporter Tomris Laffly added that the film has “stunning choreography” and is “gruesome in ways I still can’t fully believe.” While the movie is “not without its setbacks,” “The Northman” is still the “kind of film whose existence feels like a miracle today.”
Fandango’s Erik Davis wrote, “Robert Eggers’ ‘The Northman’ is hauntingly visceral & super transfixing. You definitely won’t be able to take your eyes off this blood-soaked revenge tale. Alexander Skarsgård is a BEAST & ferocious throughout. Nicole Kidman has a couple scenes that floored me. Daring & devilish.”
It seems that Skarsgård enduring being “shackled and dragged” on set for his “most difficult job” ever was worth it.
Previously, Academy Award–winning director Alfonso Cuarón praised the “very complicated” film that gives the “impression almost of intoxication” for viewers. “You are there, and you’re breathing with those actors,” Cuarón told The New Yorker in a profile on Eggers’ practical and historically accurate filmmaking techniques.
Check out more critics’ reactions below.
It’s a crying shame that THE NORTHMAN has been so criminally mishandled because it’s precisely what blockbuster cinema should aspire to, and still has the potential to be. Formally audacious but welcoming; easy to follow but not, simply, a guided tour. Five big ‘ol stars. Björk! pic.twitter.com/vXpDLOrU7b
— Jack King (@jackarking) April 5, 2022
THE NORTHMAN or, two-plus hours of me flipping between “HELL YES” and “OH NO” with startling regularity.
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) April 5, 2022
The Northman is spectacular. It’s surprisingly Eggers’ most accessible film, but no less immersive in its authentic feel. It’s a gripping revenge story that keeps its hand around your throat & visually stunning. Compelled me to whisper "holy shit!" several times. #TheNorthman pic.twitter.com/5VDbxIqU0s
— Eric Eisenberg (@eeisenberg) April 5, 2022
all you need to know about The Northman — a $90 million viking revenge movie directed by Robert Eggers — is that every single moment of it feels like a $90 million viking revenge movie directed by Robert Eggers.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) April 5, 2022
Imagine a Frank Frazetta painting — not unlike that mural painted on the side of your weed dealer's Chevy van — suddenly came to life. For two full hours. That's #TheNorthman. I give it 5/5 cawing ravens.
— David Fear (@davidlfear) April 5, 2022
Robert Eggers’ #TheNorthman is hauntingly visceral & super transfixing. You definitely won’t be able to take your eyes off this blood-soaked revenge tale. Alexander Skarsgård is a BEAST & ferocious throughout. Nicole Kidman has a couple scenes that floored me. Daring & devilish pic.twitter.com/9DMX3Mm4sq
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) April 5, 2022
#TheNorthman is incredible. Like, fall-to-your-knees, ‘HOW the HELL did they do this?’ good. Breathtakingly gnarly too. It deserves to be a massive hit. EGGERS HIVE ASSEMBLE. pic.twitter.com/NpijhqV6g8
— Cameron Frew (@FrewFilm) April 5, 2022
Watching Robert Eggers’ Viking revenge epic THE NORTHMAN, I often alternated btw clapping & squeaking. Stunning choreography, gruesome in ways I still can’t fully believe. Not w/o its setbacks but it’s the kind of film whose existence feels like a miracle today. & I’ll take it.
— Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly) April 5, 2022
THE NORTHMAN is 136 minutes of pure uncut revenge savagery. My favorite Robert Eggers fever dream by far.
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) April 5, 2022
A bit of a lazy shorthand maybe, but #TheNorthman is basically Robert Eggers’ answer to 300. Violent, visceral, weird and at times staggeringly beautiful, it’s a tremendous action movie mixed in with some truly haunting moments. Skarsgard is an absolute beast. pic.twitter.com/78V1AC5xTT
— Rory Cashin (@roarEcashin) April 5, 2022
THE NORTHMAN just simply isn’t fucked-up enough. Needed more incest.
— Ryan Lattanzio (@ryanlattanzio) April 5, 2022
THE NORTHMAN fucking rocks, you guys. Naked battles. Intestines spilling out. Weird ass mysticism that looks what I assume drugs feel like? Skarsgård going FULL animal. Claes Bang being a hot usurpers. Mud. Blood. Björk being spooky. Firelight and some HAYMAKER fight scenes. RAD
— Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru) April 5, 2022
Sorry to be cryptic. I don’t want to say too much as I want to save it for the review. But yes, it’s not only his best one yet, but the best film of the year so far. Who cares about the Oscars when a film this good is released this early in the year. #TheNorthman
— Linda Marric (@Linda_Marric) April 5, 2022
I've been a huge fan of Robert Eggers for years, but THE NORTHMAN is truly his masterpiece. Brutal, fearless, & audacious, it feels like the kind of cinematic epic we don't see very often anymore. It's a ferocious & stunning work of art & Alexander Skarsgård rules. #TheNorthman pic.twitter.com/Cs8Zgbktuc
— Heather Wixson (@MMEFXBook out 10/20!) (@thehorrorchick) April 5, 2022
#TheNorthman is vicious and unforgivingly good. It’s a pretty astonishing achievement.
Alexander Skarsgård is insane for that performance. The man turns into an animal.
Robert Eggers delivers violent, gripping, and unforgettable levels of immersion. Really well done. pic.twitter.com/9cZHb1BdVy
— BD (@BrandonDavisBD) April 5, 2022
#TheNorthman is Robert Eggers’ best film yet. Stunning cinematography sets the scene for the perfect merger of otherworldly Norse mythology with the brutal reality of Viking history. Bloodthirsty. Powerful. Spiritual. @TheNorthmanFilm is a magnificent and epic saga for the ages. pic.twitter.com/hSa1S0Mc3Z
— Maggie Lovitt 🔜 SWC (@maggieofthetown) April 5, 2022
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