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‘The Northman’ reviews praise “brutal” and “epic” Viking horror

The verdict is in on the highly-anticipated new film, starring Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Björk and Anya Taylor-Joy

By Will Richards

Alexander Skarsgård as Amleth in 'The Northman'
Alexander Skarsgård as Amleth in 'The Northman'. (Photo: Aidan Monaghan/Focus Features.)

The first reviews are in for Robert Eggers’ highly-anticipated Viking film ‘The Northman’, with the film being praised for its “brutal” and “epic” qualities.

The ‘Lighthouse’ director’s follow-up feature, which stars Alexander Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman, Ralph Ineson, Björk, Anya Taylor-Joy and more, lands in UK cinemas on April 22.

An official description of the film calls ‘The Northman’ “an epic revenge thriller that explores how far a Viking prince will go to seek justice for his murdered father.”

A synopsis adds: “Prince Amleth is on the verge of becoming a man when his father is brutally murdered by his uncle, who kidnaps the boy’s mother. Two decades later, Amleth is now a Viking who raids Slavic villages. He soon meets a seeress who reminds him of his vow – save his mother, kill his uncle, avenge his father.”

Watch the film’s trailer below.

Ahead of the film’s release next week, reviews have been rolling in, with mostly positive reactions to the film.

The Guardian gave ‘The Northman’ five stars, praising its “brutal” qualities and writing: “The Northman is a horribly violent, nihilistic and chaotic story about the endless cycle of violence, the choice between loving your friends and hating your enemies – which turns out to be no choice at all, and the thread of fate down which masculinity’s delicious toxin drips. It’s entirely outrageous, with some epic visions of the flaring cosmos. I couldn’t look away.”

A five-star review was also given by the Irish Times, who wrote: “We need hardly note that the extreme violence will not be for everyone. Never fear. The new Downton Abbey movie will be along in a moment.”

The Telegraph published a four-star review calling ‘The Northman’ “a mythological epic of savage beauty.”

The film was also given positive reviews by The Independent (“A Viking epic of thick, blood-red brutality”) and Empire (“intimate, culturally rich storytelling on a brutally epic scale”).

However, The Times was somewhat less positive – labelling the film “a camp, laughable fiasco”.

Last year, Ineson told NME that he was “really blown away” by some early footage he had seen of ‘The Northman’.

“It’s an enormous movie,” Ineson said. “I saw a four-minute montage of some of the stuff they’d already shot and I was really blown away. The marriage of Rob Eggers’ imagination and Viking folklore… Jesus, man.”

He also called Skarsgård “an absolute beast” in the film, adding: “He’s made himself look like some kind of monster for the part, the dedication’s incredible. I think it will be a bit of a masterpiece, to be honest.”