It’s a tale as old as time: a young prince lives a blissful life until a usurper ambushes and kills his father, sending him into hiding and hell bent on revenge. Robert Eggers’ new film is exactly this. But before the Hamlet comparisons go any further, let’s get one thing clear. The Northman is actually the legend that inspired Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy. (As Eggers told IGN, the bard was a fan of Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus.)
Anyway, back to the Norse legend at hand. Alexander Skarsgård stars as the titular Northman, Amleth, who returns to his home after years away ready to fulfill his long-held mantra that involves avenging father, saving mother, and killing the evil Fjölnir. And its trailer gives us just a glimpse of the brutal, twisty film.
Focus Features describes The Northman as “an epic revenge thriller, that explores how far a Viking prince will go to seek justice for his murdered father.” It’s a remarkably mainstream film for Eggers, whose most notable films are The Witch and The Lighthouse. However, that also has us pretty confident this is not just a run-of-the-mill action film. The film reunites the director with Anya Taylor-Joy and Willem Dafoe. Each brilliant in their previous Eggers films.
Ethan Hawke plays King Aurvandil, himself a notable figure in Norse and German mythology. Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman, donning another iconic wig and hopefully a vaguely Scandinavian, stars as Amleth’s mother. (A choice considering she and Skarsgård played a married couple for two whole seasons of television in Big Little Lies.)
Rounding out the truly stellar cast are Claes Bang and Björk. Yep, we’ve got Björk and Dafoe popping up in ominous supporting roles. Eggers, who co-wrote the film with Sjón, definitely has some shenanigans up his sleeve and I, for one, am ready.
The Northman releases in theaters on April 8, 2022.