Epic Viking Thriller The Northman Is a Lesson in Revenge

Epic Viking Thriller The Northman Is a Lesson in Revenge
Image: Focus Features

Due to (obviously) that whole pandemic thing, The Northman in November had its release date pushed, meaning we now have to wait until April 21, 2022, to sink our teeth into what can only be described as an epic Viking thriller. The good news, however, is April 21 is now only a month away.

Here’s what you can expect from the R-rated movie that seems like the answer to the prayers of a lot of Game of Thrones fans.

What is The Northman about?

Directed by Robert Eggers, The Northman is an epic revenge thriller that explores how far a Viking prince will go to seek justice for his murdered father. And just how long such revenge can take.

Cast and director

The movie has an equally epic cast to partner the plot, with Anya Taylor-Joy (Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit), Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan), Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Björk (!!!). What a cast.

Eggers has a similarly epic CV, counting The Witch and most recently (well, 2019) The Lighthouse as his claim to fame. Vogue goes as far as calling Eggers “one of the modern masters of horror” and I fully back this remark. For The Northman, Eggers actually co-wrote the screenplay with Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón. Lars Knudson and Mark Huffam are also both named as the film’s producers. The Northman is a co-production of Focus Features and New Regency.

Taylor-Joy was actually in The Witch and Dafoe, The Lighthouse. CinemaCon saw the first footage from the film and the best way they said to describe it was The Witch meets Braveheart.

The Northman trailer

The details had been scant on The Northman but in December, Universal gave us a trailer to sink our teeth into:

“I will avenge you, father. I will save you, mother. I will kill you, Fjölnir.”

Chills.

What else do we know about The Northman?

What we do know is The Northman is an action-filled epic that is set at the turn of the 10th century in Iceland. It follows a young Viking prince Amleth on his quest to avenge his father’s murder.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Eggers revealed that The Northman is based on the old Norse tale that inspired Hamlet.

“It’s basically the story of Hamlet or The Lion King … We’ve told it in our own way,” EW quoted Eggers as saying. “It is a Viking saga with magic and swords and mysticism and all the stuff that you’d want from that.”

Empire, meanwhile, is calling The Northmanthroat-ripping“. In an interview, Skarsgård told Empire The Northman has left him hesitant to pick up other roles he previously would have, describing it as “a tough act to follow”.

“A lot of stuff that I might have said yes to a couple of years ago, I’m just not that keen on doing anymore. I feel a bit lost. I don’t know where to go from here. This experience… it definitely changed me. I think it changed most people who were on that mountaintop,” they quote him as saying.

So what went on up there?

Well, he rips someone’s throat out. “That climax, where I rip a guy’s throat out and howl at the moon… it was primal. I just let it all out,” Skarsgård said during the interview. “I was exhausted, and I think you see it in the shot. I was a wreck. Truly a wreck.”

We can’t wait to see this in the, um, flesh.

Release date

Filming for The Northman was scheduled for March 2020, but COVID-19 had other plans. Collider speculates the push was initially due to the many location changes required for filming and that being hard to navigate during a pandemic.

The Northman will now be released on April 21, 2022, two weeks later than we had pencilled in. It’s rated R for bloody violence and nudity. Shocking, I know.