The wide U.S. release of The Northman is still a couple of weeks away, but plenty of critics have gotten the chance to see the film before the rest of us. Any review embargoes have seemingly been lifted, because the reviewers are all over social media letting their followers know what they think of the upcoming Alexander Skarsgard-led Viking epic, and the verdict seems to be unanimous. The Northman is an absolute masterpiece according to the critics, and as soon as you can, you need to drop everything and go see it.
Much of the praise for the revenge epic is aimed right at director Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse). Words like “stunning,” “masterpiece,” and “powerful” are common in the social media snippets. And if you’re worried that Eggers is too much on the cerebral or artsy side of things to create a satisfying tapestry of violence, think again. The word “brutal” is perhaps the most often used descriptor of the film. Clearly, Alexander Skarsgard won’t be taking many prisoners in the story. You can see plenty of examples below.
Judging by the reactions to the lead’s performance, The Northman could very well wind up catapulting Alexander Skarsgard into the ranks of superstardom. Of those critics who bother to single out any performances in the film, almost all of them talk about Skarsgard bringing the kind of presence none of us have ever seen from him. You can see praise for the actor below.
Somewhat surprisingly, of all the critics we found on twitter talking about The Northman, there are only a couple who focus on any individual performances other than that of Alexander Skarsgard. Though, perhaps that shouldn’t be such a shock. After all, these are only tweets, and we’re sure to get more praise for the actors’ performances later. Of those who did make the room to single out other actors, strangely enough, both critics have the same first name. Erik Anderson had some kind words for Claes Bang, and both Anderson and Erik Davis were impressed with Nicole Kidman. You can read those opinions below.
In The Northman Alexander Skarsgard plays the Viking prince Amleth who, as Anderson notes in his tweet above, was the direct inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Eggers’ The Northman won’t be the first time the legend of Amleth was used to inspire a film. The Viking story was the basis for the largely forgotten — but surprisingly star-studded — 1994 film alternatively known as either Prince of Jutland and Royal Deceit. Christian Bale stars as Amled (the film’s version of Amleth) and he is joined by Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Kate Beckinsale, and Andy Serkis.
The Northman is set for a wide U.S. theatrical release on Friday, April 22. The film is directed by Robert Eggers, from a script by Eggers and Sjón. The movie stars Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies), Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!), Claes Bang (The Square), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit), Ethan Hawke (Training Day), Björk, and Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man).