+++ Opinion +++
Rough action, a story that is as captivating as it is well thought out, and a stately production effort that catapults us into another time with detailed sets and costumes – plus a capable cast including tried and tested Hollywood greats like Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman as well as rising stars like Alexander Skarsgård and Anya Taylor -Joy: The historical action-adventure The Northman has everything that a large portion of the higher-pitched movie fan community could wish for in Hollywood.
» “The Northman” DVD, Blu-ray & 4K at Amazon*
Regardless, the theatrical box office of The Lighthouse’s Viking epic was a disappointment: With a pure production budget (excluding advertising costs) that is said to total up to $90 million, “The Northman” generated less than $70 million globally dollars at the box office. An economic catastrophe! But now there is hope that the ambitious production will find a larger audience, at least in home cinema. The Northman will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Disc (as well as VOD of course) from July 7th, 2022 – and if you want to spend a few extra euros for stylish packaging, you can also get the epic as a steel book.
» “The Northman” Blu-ray Steelbook at MediaMarkt*
All those interested in the film, in which the currently in “The Black Phone’ the theater-haunting Ethan Hawke features a choice of two limited editions: one containing the film on regular Blu-ray only, the other also containing the 4K Blu-ray as well.
» “The Northman” 4K Steelbook at MediaMarkt*
Good to know: Both steel book editions of “The Northman” are only available in limited quantities and are currently no longer available on Amazon. You can switch to MediaMarkt, among other things.
Viking king Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) is murdered in the back by his half-brother Fjölnir (Claes Bang). Young Prince Amleth is also on the hit list, but manages to escape. In the land of the Rus, he then grows into a warrior (Alexander Skarsgård) that is as strong as he is relentless.
When a vision reminds him that he still has an ax to grind with his uncle, he poses as a slave and sells himself to Fjölnir to kill the Kingslayer and defend his mother Gudrún’s (Nicole Kidman) honor . Meanwhile, Amleth falls in love with fellow slave Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), who helps him with his plans for revenge, but also shows him new ways of structuring his life…
The old Danish myth of the Viking prince Amleth is also known in German tradition as the Amletus or Amlethus saga – but it is probably most famous for being the model for Shakespeare’s tragedy “Hamlet”. Which in turn is one of the sources of inspiration for the Disney animated classic “The Lion King” – which is why “The Northman” could also be described as a kind of twisted, grim live-action remake of the story about the lion child Simba. During the cinema promo for his Viking epic, director Robert Eggers himself alluded to the parallels to the Disney milestone – and perhaps fueled them these similarities additional curiosity about Eggers’ revenge story drenched in mud and blood?
If the lion twist doesn’t reach you, “The Northman” has numerous other qualities to offer. The atmospherically dense historical actioner is a modern example of haptic production effort. Whether it’s the settlements built out of wood, rope, and fabric, the weapons used in the battle sequences, or the boats and ships seen in the film, Eggers placed great value on real scenes while maintaining historical accuracy. Because even if digital tricks make shooting easier and deviations from reality are unlikely to be noticed by most of the audience, Eggers felt that if he avoided computer effects and artistic liberties as much as possible, his passion would show. And in this case you can agree with that with a clear conscience!
In addition, Eggers repeatedly unleashes his characters’ pent-up, angry feelings and conflicts arising from limited worldviews in grippingly filmed fight sequences full of power and brutality, in which everything seems possible. To quote from the DashFUN review: “Something is happening in every corner of the frame – and while such a moment obviously requires immense planning and extensive rehearsals, the deadly tumult feels entirely real and not choreographed at all.”
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