‘The Northman’ First Reactions Call Robert Eggers’ Viking Movie ‘Stunning,’ ‘Brutal,’ and ‘Haunting’

Robert Eggers has become a director to look out for in Hollywood. His first two movies, The Witch and The Lighthouse, are modern horror classics, with many praising the beautiful yet haunting imagery and ambiguous storytelling. 

Eggers’ latest movie, The Northman, ditches horror for a Viking revenge story. Fans of the director have been anticipating his next film, and early feedback is beginning to trickle in. The first reactions from critics are out, and many call it visually stunning and extremely brutal. 

‘The Northman’ stars Alexander Skarsgård as a Viking prince

Robert Eggers and Alexander Skarsgård attend the Germany movie premiere of The Northman.
Robert Eggers and Alexander Skarsgard | Tristar Media/Getty Images

In The Northman, Alexander Skarsgård plays Prince Amleth, a Viking who is hellbent on getting vengeance on his uncle who killed his father. The movie is directed by Eggers and co-written by Eggers and Sjón. In addition to Skarsgård, the cast includes Willem Dafoe, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, and Björk. 

The Northman was made on a $90 million budget, making it Eggers’ most expensive film. Expectations are high, and based on early reactions, it seems like those expectations have been met and possibly exceeded. 

Early reactions to ‘The Northman’ praise Robert Eggers’ Vikings movie

The Northman has been trending on Twitter as critics begin to share their first reactions to the film. The review embargo is still in place, meaning that critics are only sharing their brief thoughts. However, the reactions so far are overwhelmingly positive, with many talking about how “brutal” but also visually stunning this movie is. 

Many are impressed by the directing work done by Eggers, along with the cinematography by Jarin Blaschke. Critics are also praising Skarsgård’s performance as he leads the movie with vicious ferocity. Not everything is perfect, as some critics take issue with the pacing and say that the film starts off a bit slow. Still, these same critics enjoyed the film overall and shared many similar praises. 

‘The Northman’ appears to be Robert Eggers’ most ‘accessible’ movie.

While Eggers receives a ton of love from critics, audiences can be split toward his movies. He doesn’t create mainstream cinema that appeals to the masses. Both The Witch and The Lighthouse are horror films that don’t fully explain everything and force the audience to think about what’s happening. 

They aren’t filled with jumpscares and bloody kills. Eggers’ movies are more haunting due to the unknown rather than something that’s easily explained. The endings are open-ended, allowing the audience to imagine what happens next. Luckily, if you didn’t enjoy The Witch or The Lighthouse, then The Northman may be perfect for you. 

Some critics have indicated that this movie will be more accessible to mainstream audiences. While that doesn’t mean this is Eggers’ best film, it does indicate that the storyline is more direct and will appeal to a broader audience. This could bring in an entirely new audience outside of fans of the director, which is important considering the expensive budget. 

The Northman sails into theaters on April 22, 2022.

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