Blood, honor, love, and betrayal keep you engaged for over 2 hours in this epic revenge tale.


Director(s) Robert Eggers
Screenplay By Sjón, Robert Eggers
Date Released 4/21/2022
Where To Watch In Theaters
Genre(s) Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Family, War
Duration 2 Hours and 16 Minutes
Content Rating Rated R
Noted Cast
Amleth Alexander Skarsgård
Olga Anya Taylor-Joy
King Aurvandil Ethan Hawke
Fjolnir Claes Bang
Queen Gudrun Nicole Kidman

Film Summary

When Amelth was a child, his father, King Aurvandil was murdered by his brother Fjolnir. On that day, Ameleth escaped with his life and committed himself to revenge as he became consumed with hatred. Years later, after becoming a man, a notable warrior in his own right, he allows himself to become enslaved to get within reach of his uncle to avenge his father, rescue his mother, and take back the kingdom that was rightfully his.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (If there is, it isn’t incessant), Violence (Grotesque imagery – decapitated heads, guts spilling out of abdomen; Blood; open wounds; harm against animals), Sexual Content (Butts – men and women; Breasts and frontal nudity from women; simulated sex), Miscellaneous (Occasional vomiting)
  • Is there an end credit or mid-credit scene?: There isn’t an end credit or mid-credit scene

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Amleth

Born a joyful prince but later stripped down to a soldier for another kingdom, then voluntarily becoming a slave, Amleth’s joy and tears were taken from him at an early age. Thus leaving a hulk of a man still capable of love, compassion, and glee but clouded too much by vengeance to ever make any of those three his prominent goal.

Olga

A worshipper of Earth magic, Olga is a pale blonde who originally was a casualty of the army that Amleth’s associates conquered. However, thanks to Amleth, she is given a second chance at life, and she tries to push the idea Amleth could have a second chance himself if he lets go of his need for revenge.

King Aurvandil

King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) returning home from battle
Ethan Hawke stars as King Aurvandil in director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic THE NORTHMAN, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

Nicknamed the War-Raven, King Auryandil’s passions mainly were violence, riches, and whores. But, what is a man without an heir? Hence, to some degree, he settled with Queen Gudrun, who made the best of the situation.

Fjolnir

Aurvandil’s brother who was one of his top soldiers but wasn’t enough of a man to maintain what his brother created. However, that didn’t stop him from enjoying what he could keep from his brother’s conquests, including his wife.

Queen Gudrun

Like Olga, Queen Gudrun wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth and had hoped beyond what was initially offered to her in life. But, through sacrifice and suffering, she made deals to have, even if fleeting, some sense of joy.

Review

Highlights

Olga and Amleth

Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard) and Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) traveling by horse
Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth and Anya Taylor-Joy as Olga in director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic THE NORTHMAN, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

By no means is the goal of The Northman to give you an epic romance. However, there is no denying the impact Olga has on expanding Almeth’s desires in life beyond the murder of his uncle. She provides him his first taste of companionship, an ally, and a reprieve from the hatred that is so deeply rooted in his heart. She even tempts him to free himself from the obligation he feels towards avenging his father, and through her love, you can imagine him letting things go to learn what it means to be happy without someone’s blood on his hands. Never mind, unlike his father, love a woman for who she is and not purely for the pleasure she provides.

The Fight Scenes

While there isn’t the type of action that will make you flinch, there is no denying between the choreography and special effects, you will sometimes grimace at the sights you are given. Be it watching people’s heads cut off, open wounds, or not even the damage, but fights themselves. Now, I’ll admit, sometimes it seems they are doing more than catching their breath in some moments and trying to build tension, which does dull the moment. However, most fight scenes, war scenes I should say, definitely help the movie trudge along.

It Keeps Things Interesting Over Two Hours

Two hours and 16 minutes is a long time for a revenge tale. Especially considering most revenge tales don’t have the target of the hatred handled until the end. Thankfully, The Northman presents various moments and storylines to gracefully carry you to the end. The aforementioned romance between Olga and Amleth makes you forget about the time. Also, there is Amleth’s time working for another army and killing with them before he meets Olga.

Queen Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) during a ceremony
Nicole Kidman stars as Queen Gudrún in director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic THE NORTHMAN, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

Following that is his enslavement and doing reconnaissance on Fjolnir’s new home and family. Including investigating how Queen Gudrun, Amleth’s mother, has dealt with becoming Fjolnir’s queen and giving birth to his son. Alongside that, there is mysticism and visions and more than enough action sequences if all you wanted was to see people die by someone’s hands or a sword.

Combined, while you may check your watch or phone towards the latter half of the film once or twice, it is only when Amleth makes it clear his revenge is nigh, that you feel like he’s dragging it out.

On The Fence

You’ll Wish This Had More Subtitles

As you can tell by the names of many characters, The Northman might be an English language film, but it is drawing from a non-English source. Because of this, the accents and how low Skarsgard sometimes speaks, often you’ll feel like you missed something and have to hone your ears to pick up what’s being said.

Now, it is never so bad you feel like you are missing the big picture or who is who. However, if you are one for details, this could frustrate your viewing experience.

Overall

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

If you can get past dialog that is sometimes discernable, then the barrier of entry is low for The Northman. It has action, romance, familiar betrayal, and some light nudity and sexual content if you need that every now and again. Hence the positive rating and us saying this is worth seeing.

Movie Directory

An old school film reel drawn by artist Dean Nelson.

On The Radar


Ratings

  • Recommended: Some of the best-seen movies we have ever watched and mentioned to friends, family, and strangers as films that need to be seen.
  • Positive (Worth Seeing): Whether you’ll have to go to the movies, download, or stream, movies of this category are worth your time and money with few, if any, qualms from us.
  • Mixed (Divisive): Due to this movie having a few quirks, of which may work for some and for others be a problem, we believe your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your taste.
  • Negative (Acquired Taste): While one or two elements kept us going until the end, unfortunately, we’re of the opinion this film never reached the potential it was marketed to have.

Special Categories/ Tags

  • Indie: By our definition, independent films are films you have to seek to find due to limited availability or lack of a marketing push.
  • Film Festival: Featured in this tag are films and shorts which were discovered thanks to various film festivals, so some of the productions may not have wide availability but still may deserve to be on your watch.
  • Shorts: Be it ten or fifteen minutes, or a half-hour, these quick teases or films get right to the point, often show the potential of filmmakers and the actors who have joined them in their journey.
  • Ending Spoilers: Trying to remember how a film ended, or want a different take on the ending, then check out the "ending spoilers" category. 
Movie Poster - The Northman (2022)
The Northman (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who love Nordic tales about revenge, love, and betrayal – with a good amount of violence and a sprinkle of sexual content.
Highlights
It Keeps Things Interesting Over Two Hours
The Fight Scenes
Olga and Amleth
Disputable
You'll Wish This Had More Subtitles
83


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I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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