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Old 04-23-2022, 03:34 PM
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27.The Northman (Robert Eggers); grade: F

Eggers appropriates and, then, perverts the significance of Shakespeare's Hamlet--probably the greatest play ever. (He similarly deranged the spiritual significance of "the lighthouse" in painting with The Lighthouse.) If Shakespeare updated for his time the ur tale of Danish tribalism within a Catholic metaphysic, Eggers creates a fantasy of this 21st century era's paganism through the faux authenticity of historical depravities. Instead of Hamlet's spiritual dilemma, Eggers gives contemporary moviegoers Amleth's subservience to a fate incited by betrayed father (Hawke), warlock (Willem Dafoe), Demi-god (Bjork). Alexander Skarsgard's Amleth's single-minded focus on revenge cancels out his humanity (his involvement in mass infanticide cannot be excused by moral relativism!) and overtakes his "love" for his mother and his half-brothers. This faux conflict results in the only entertaining scenes in the otherwise dully literal movie. Eggers achieves a hilarious composition of Ameth's youngest brother triumphantly stealing a ball from his slaves during a brutal sports game before he is pummeled by a giant--both the boy's hilarious comeuppance and Amleth's outsized response exposed the exaggerated Oedipal revenge story. Then, Eggers takes what that moment exposed and makes it explicit when Amleth's mother--Nicole Kidman in the film's only fun performance--attempts to seduce Amleth before she reveals the depth of her treachery. Though technically capable (especially close up shots of logs), Eggers' imagery lacks even the piquant lighting of the early scenes of David Lowery's The Green Knight. Later, its volcanic final battle looks as opaque as The Batman compared to visionary sequences in Kurzel's Macbeth, Boorman's Excalibur, and Hill's Bullet to the Head. Those film's hellish climaxes promised rebirth and ultimate redemption, while Eggers presents a digital flight to Valhalla--the mythical domain of cannon fodder for the coming apocalypse. Don't bother. It's here.
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Last edited by TrueFaith77; 04-23-2022 at 03:44 PM..
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