Woof! Aaroarrrr! 5 notes on Robert Eggers' The Northman


1) Yowsah! The Northman is so manly, I went home, put on a hair shirt, and then ran into the woods where I dwell to this day, roaring by the bonfire with my fellow smelly bearded roughnecks, barking, lapping mystical potion up from a doggie bowl, gesturing around with my spear, grunting, rooting in the weeds, howling, burping, swearing revenge, screaming at the camera, reading Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly, contracting poison ivy rashes, etc. No more civilized comforts for me! No more irony, just the reek of male sweat and the dark woods cinematically lit with torchlight. Soon, we will have visions! 

2) Anya Taylor-Joy appears as an oddly refined and blonde sorceress named Olga. I can't help but think that it should be a mandatory part of her contract with any film or TV production that she play some chess somewhere, even if only for a scene or two. As we learned from The Queen's Gambit, she's very good at winning high level chess tournaments in places like Russia. 

3) It's a shame that Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard) couldn't take up bird watching or flower arranging or mindful breathing exercises in those occasional interludes between Viking boat trips through rainstorms or raging midnight slaughters as a blood-soaked berserker in the land of Rus. Why couldn't Amleth collect pretty pebbles along the unruly Hrafsney shoreline? Is it really necessary for the intensity of all of Amleth's scenes to be turned all the way up to 11? Perhaps Amleth could have played chess with Olga during their occasional breaks from being slaves for Fjolnir? 

4) If we've learned anything from his previous movies The Witch (2015) and The Lighthouse (2019), Robert Eggers thoroughly researched the world of Vikings of AD 895.

5) What does one learn from The Northman? After killing a relative of the king, keep the poor sod's heart in your back pocket. It may come in handy later. Also, cultivate flocks of ravens. They can be helpful if they like you.