The Northman. Quick Review(Suggestive Spoilers)

Robert Eggers is one of the brand of filmmakers that gets treated like a messiah on certain film discussion portions of the internet. His films are for the hugely pretentious built-for analysis over genuine substance crowd that loves his brand of purely aesthetic-driven filmmaking. Eggers will always have a devoted cult audience that will treat each new project of his like some sort of rebirth for organised religion. Even if the products themselves are ridiculously niche. This writer would say the same thing about the hugely overrated but admirable work of Ari Aster but that’s a conversation for another day. The prospect of giving Eggers a studio budget seems like a wet dream for a certain type of online film nerd with no genuine grasp of what audiences outside the hyper-specific circle of contacts want to see. That said despite treating the release with some level of cynicism this author can’t deny that the trailer campaign was stunning. Maybe this would be the film to convince him that Eggers Work had an audience beyond the type of film festival watcher that’s going to eat all his work of that plate with a spoon and then ask for more. How was the film?
Both more and significantly less than this author’s expectation. There’s no denying a lot of the craftsmanship and aesthetic elements of the presentation are effective and admirable. Eggers delivers a film that’s abrasive, brutal and badass in all of the best ways for this sort of genre fare. That said the incredibly single-minded filmmaking will be incredibly hard to swallow for those directly on board. There are only so many times you can watch Alexander Skarsgard and his company of Vikings go about their bloodsoaked business before those not on board with the one dim tone will start to find proceedings a little dull. The finale is two naked men having a full-frontal sword battle on top of an active volcano. Now imagine layering a functionally impressive but caustic vocal and instrumental score on top of the final confrontation. The film has stayed at that one register for the previous two hours. In some ways, the piece is nothing other than a parody of itself. Then the certain watches that had already branded the film a masterpiece before they’d even seen it on directories name alone will be amazed when the film underperforms at the box office. To be successful with the kind of budget at play here something like The Northmen needs to have a broader appeal than the type of audience described in this piece. This was something that Robert Eggers was clearly and simply not interested in. Thus he gets the underwhelming box office that much as online film discourse would not like to admit it is probably accurate for this sort of single-minded one-dimensional affair.
The Northmen is a perfect example of the fact those already predisposed to like its specific style and presentation we’ll get something out of it regardless of what anyone else thinks. However, that same audience will get angry when the film underperforms at the box office because the final product realistically has very limited appeal outside of a bubble of potential viewers who will lap it up. Eggers can have his cult fanbase of audiences that think the A24 logo is a birthright rather than a simple distribution company. There were things to admire in Eggers’s big studio-backed swing That said this viewer would be lying if he didn’t acknowledge there were sections of the film so fixed on providing one thinmg border on a joke at times.

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