The Northman starring Alexander Skårsgard is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, and it’s not hard to see why. The historical epic features an A-list cast, including Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Björk, and Willem Dafoe, for one thing. Another is that it features an intense tale of revenge, as the thriller has a Viking prince’s quest to avenge his father’s murder. Did we mention the towering, shirtless Alexander Skårsgard? Critics have screened The Northman, so let’s take a look at their early reactions.
The Northman’s director Robert Eggers has built a reputation as a filmmaker of creating films that are as historically accurate as possible, while maintaining an atmospheric and haunting tone. His two previous feature films, The Witch and 2019’s The Lighthouse, both received critical praise, but The Northman is his most ambitious project yet. What are the critics saying about his effort?
CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg really enjoyed it, calling The Northman Robert Eggers’ most accessible film. It’s probably also a good sign when the critic keeps whispering, “Holy shit!” during the screening:
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/5VDbxIqU0sApril 5, 2022
CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell also go to see the film, and offers similar praise, calling it “primal” and “everything you want a Viking revenge thriller directed by Robert Eggers to be.”
THE NORTHMAN is the manliest movie I’ve seen… maybe ever. It’s primal, and angry, and majestic, and vicious. It’s everything you want a Viking revenge thriller directed by Robert Eggers to be. Frigid cinematography and a pounding score produce an unforgettable cinematic trip! pic.twitter.com/RrMXAkbkmQApril 5, 2022
Erik Davis of Rotten Tomatoes agrees that The Northman is the most accessible venture from the director, but clarifies that that fact doesn’t take away from his filmmaking style. He praises Alexander Skarsgård’s performance, so it appears the “crazy transformation” the actor went through to prepare for the role might have paid off. While Skarsgård is a “beast,” Nicole Kidman’s performance is stunning as well, according to Davis:
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/9DMX3Mm4sqApril 5, 2022
Maggie Lovitt of Wealth of Geeks says the stunning cinemetography sets the scene for this epic saga:
#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/hSa1S0Mc3ZApril 5, 2022
Germain Lussier of Gizmodo said The Northman is smaller than the trailers make it seem, but that doesn’t take away from it being a satisfying and emotional tale of revenge. Apparently the final scene is pretty epic as well:
The Northman: Robert Eggers has made his Gladiator. A satisfying, emotional revenge epic that kept me guessing and engaged with its beautiful language, mythology, and cinematography. Smaller than the trailers make it seem but still powerful and moving. The final battle is 🔥🔥🔥. pic.twitter.com/VKQK3GSTzbApril 5, 2022
High praise also comes from IndieWire’s David Ehrlich, as he says Robert Eggers succeeded in making a big-budget movie that still feels like his style:
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.April 5, 2022
Kate Erbland of IndieWire says The Northman had her on an emotional roller coaster, and it doesn’t sound like a bad ride, if you ask me:
THE NORTHMAN or, two-plus hours of me flipping between “HELL YES” and “OH NO” with startling regularity.April 5, 2022
Matt Neglia of Next Best Picture echoes other critics’ praise about Alexander Skarsgård’s performance. More than one critic has called the revenge story “straightforward,” but that doesn’t seem to be detracting from the film’s overall likeability:
THE NORTHMAN is exactly what you’d expect from a $90 million Viking revenge film by Robert Eggers. Brutal & dazzling with a vast attention to detail. Story is pretty straightforward & slow early on but I was still in awe of its spectacle. Alexander Skarsgård is an absolute beast. pic.twitter.com/eTJlWGNeReApril 5, 2022
It sounds like the early reactions to The Northman are overwhelmingly positive. We’ll get even more details when the reviews come out April 11, so be sure to check back to CinemaBlend for that. While you wait for the film’s April 22 release date, be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are coming soon to streaming services and theaters near you.