‘The man from the north’, a violent Viking feast with Shakespearean echoes

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'The man from the north', a violent Viking feast with Shakespearean echoes

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“Honestly, I don’t think I’ll do anything like this again. Even if it means never doing a movie as big as this again. [El proceso de montaje] It’s been very hard.” The first interview of Robert Eggers made us fear the worst with his jump to the big leagues of the film industry after dazzling the festival circuits and the most intellectual audiences with The witch Y The lighthouse. He would not be, far from it, the first independent filmmaker to crash by letting himself be seduced by the siren songs of Hollywood. It is not the case. north man It is a violent, intense and personal experience that has little to do with Netflix’s Vikings..

The film hits theaters with the same heavy slab that recently accompanied titles like dunes (2021): Proving that big-budget stories can appeal to the masses and be commercial without giving up their artistic ambitions and offer something more to older and more demanding audiences than those of the average Hollywood blockbuster. It’s an unfair responsibility, but one that the director gets away with regardless of the public’s response when he hits theaters on April 22.

Eggers had already warned him: his third feature film is not Gladiator neither brave heart, although you can share with them your care for their wild and intense battle sequences. The action is not as present as the film’s trailers indicated, but the uncompromising look behind the camera (the filmmaker’s greatest commitment was to forego frontal nudity for his actors) makes the film a bloody show that coexists with the most mystical aspect of the proposal. As in his previous projects, the author revisits his obsession with reinterpreting folklore and mythology on his own terms with a story based on the same ancient Danish tale that inspired William Shakespeare when he wrote Hamlet.


north man is the revenge story of Prince Amleth (Eggers doesn’t bother to hide his Shakespearean influences) after his uncle (Claes Bang) murders his father (Ethan Hawke) and kidnaps his mother (Nicole Kidman). The boy manages to flee the island, although he swears revenge. Two decades later, Amleth (now Alexander Skarsgård) is a berserker warrior dedicated to the assault of Slavic peoples until a seer (Björk) reminds him of her promise: to avenge his father, save his mother and kill her uncle. Amleth returns to Iceland on a slave ship and infiltrates his uncle’s farm with the help of a slave (Anya Taylor-Joy) to fulfill his promise.

After playing a vampire, Tarzan in the latest film version of the character or a bully in Big Little Lies, Alexander Skarsgård reinvents himself with a project that he himself has produced to fulfill his dreams of playing a Viking hero. It is a much more physical than emotional approach that presents Amleth as a wounded animal who does not give up revenge, whatever the price to pay. The radical physical transformation of the Swedish actor is not a claim to sell tickets, but a demonstration of the dehumanization of a man traumatized since childhood.

Once the shock of seeing Nicole Kidman as a mother in her husband’s fiction in the HBO series has been overcome, the Australian surprises with an apparently functional character that ends up being indebted to another classic by the English writer: Macbeth. In his reunion with the director after The lighthousea playful Willem Dafoe breaks the general austerity of the lavish supporting cast with his brief but pivotal appearance as Heimir, a jester more dangerous than he seems.



‘The man from the north’: exclusive video of how the battle scenes were made in the Viking epic.

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Eggers has always cared more about the how than the what. The plot is almost an excuse to build an exercise in style that owes more to the Conan of John Milius than to recent approaches to the epic as Game of Thrones and Zack Snyder’s movies. all in north man it moves in the spectrum of a story halfway between the human and the divine. Jarin Blaschke’s photography plays with the contrasts between the beauty of the overwhelming Scandinavian settings in broad daylight, taking advantage of all the locations of a production that squeezes its controlled budget for a film of this scale, and the threatening darkness of the dreamlike scenes or nocturnal.

The atmospheric music of Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough accompanies the hero’s journey with a score that grows in tension and intensity as the inevitable duel between the indirect victim and the executioner of the murder that triggers the events of the story approaches. The characteristic voiceover appeals from the mystical prologue to the famous Chinese proverb that warns that if you are going to seek revenge, you had better dig two graves because one of them will be for you.

Eggers can rest easy. His first foray into Hollywood is an at times demanding but satisfying show that reminds us that there are many ways to understand the epic on the big screen.

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