10 unpopular opinions about The Northman, according to Reddit
The third opus of Robert Eggers, The Nordic, is a brutal historical Viking film. Chronicling Prince Amleth’s journey of revenge, the film epically examines gory fight scenes, themes of religion and mysticism, family dynamics and masculinity.
Although the Viking epic is carried by a star-studded cast and new takes on a popular film subgenre, some moviegoers have different thoughts. Many Reddit users have taken the time to share their unpopular opinions on what Marc Maron calls “the viking movie to end all viking movies.”
It’s just telling an old story
Viking films are often bound by their own lack of versatility; by default, they should include violence, woodland settings, weird rituals, and more. User MaximumGreen4134 considers this to be a huge weak point of the film, arguing that it rarely breaks free from what has already been done in Hollywood.
He argues that the action scenes didn’t distract from the lack of originality, writing: “If the action scenes were great, it would have at least made up for the lack of creativity, but they weren’t. not.” While many might argue for Amleth’s depth of story and family drama, it seems some expected even more from Eggers contributing to the Viking cinematic arsenal.
It looks like a story channel docudrama
One of the most appreciated points of The man from the north along with other Eggers films is its balance of historical accuracy and cultural commentary. After all, for an age-old tale to be relevant, it must somehow relate to current interests.
Reddit user idapitbwidiuatabip, however, argues that this Viking film uses historical accuracy to its own detriment. The film’s costumes, script, and attention to rituals result in a lack of overall character development. While many thought this film was far more gripping than daytime television, some see it as “surprisingly well done, but it almost felt like a History Channel docudrama at times”.
It’s Eggers’ sold out movie
While many Redditors believe that The man from the north is one of the best films of the year so far, with some claiming that Robert Eggers forgoes nuance and creativity to make a “safe” film.
Reddit user PsychoticApe affirm that The man from the north “was a beautiful film and a great Viking film”, but also feels that this film is “less interesting and more in numbers than the other two Robert Eggers films”. Admittedly, Eggers’ two previous projects, Lighthouse and The witch were eclectic in many ways. His third work is perhaps less original, although many believe he retains his own style in favor of Viking film.
There’s no glory in the end
One of the key themes of The man from the north died an honorable death in battle and gained a Viking seat in Valhalla. Almost every character has had the opportunity to show bravery in the face of danger. The film’s opening scenes introduce this ideal, and its ending supposedly enhances Amleth’s glory.
Reddit user Adorno_a_window, however, do not buy it. After expressing the film’s general gloom, he argues that other themes contribute to the film’s lack of conviction, such as a neglect of “timeouts and a little more life in the film”. These things combined seem to provide an overall unconvincing experience of the film’s climaxes.
There are too many famous actors
The man from the north has a cast many have seen before, while also bringing some lesser-known actors to the screen. Actors who usually work with Eggers, like Anya Taylor-Joy and Willem Dafoe, renew their collaboration with him, and he manages to bring in other big names like Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke and Björk.
Editor headache92, however, calls it problematic for the general atmosphere of the film. The user’s supporting points are that “it initially shattered the illusion…would have been nice to see less stunningly handsome actors. Or even less modern faces.” Although the acting in the film was phenomenal, some believe familiar faces can cause setbacks by truly immersing themselves in the story.
The eldest son deserved better
Perhaps one of the film’s least likable characters is Thorir the Proud, Fjölnir’s eldest son. He’s as his name suggests: an incredibly proud and empowered son who fits the “son of the king” mentality, and he brings a testy presence to the film on many occasions.
Despite Thorir’s reputation, the Reddit user dan-0O7 believes that Thorir should have done better. This fan “wished the eldest son had more theatrical death”, saying it was hard to tell who was killed by Amleth, at first. Many viewers may have been pleased that Thorir didn’t get a careful send-off, but some may still wish for a more detailed death, if only for the sake of clarity.
Björk was the best
Throughout the nearly two-and-a-half-hour film, famed Icelandic singer/songwriter and occasional actor Björk makes an on-screen appearance that lasts five minutes. The performance is surely impressive, but few would call it the best scene in the film considering other pivotal scenes such as Amleth retrieving the sword or the final fight between him and Fjölnir.
Editor My_Favourite_Pen argues that the scene is seriously underrated. “No one talks about Björk [S]eeress scene,” they wrote. “The best scene in the movie. Björk’s eerie portrayal of a wise witch guiding Amleth was commendable, but perhaps doesn’t escape the shadow of the rest of the film.
It’s a heartless revenge movie
Perhaps one of Eggers’ strongest talents is his ability to write a meaningful (yet still accurate) script. There were many moments cited in The Nordic who proved that he has not lost his touch in this regard. Some of the more moving scenes have meaningful quotes that sum up the characters and their emotions.
Reddit user fast123, however, argues that not enough scenes set up the early family dynamic “for the loss of the father to be truly heartbreaking.” The fan claims that “the movie had no heart…And without a strong emotional connection to the characters, I personally had no interest in getting revenge”.
Nicole Kidman wasn’t great
Nicole Kidman is an acclaimed actress, with an impressive filmography spanning many different styles. She continued to deepen her versatility and reliability as an actress, and many believe her performance as Queen Gudrún in The man from the north further reinforces these traits.
But some Redditors, like OldManHipsAt30, thinks she was not a good casting choice for the mother of a vengeful Viking son. This user writes, in a harsh way, “I thought Kidman was awful, but Skarsgård was amazing.” While few people thought Kidman’s performance was “awful,” some still think she didn’t fit the role or didn’t have the best on-screen chemistry with Prince Amleth.
This should have been a TV series
There are plenty of feature films that easily cross the three-hour mark, which makes The Northman a battery life of two hours and 20 minutes seems average. Its rushed moments and atmospheric settings create a distinctly cinematic feel.
Contrary to this, however, Redditor saintrelli think it was too long. The user attributes the long feeling to having too many extra scenes, saying “the more it became kind of a cool cultural piece, the more it felt like a miniseries that was misdiagnosed as a movie.” While most fans can agree that there were unnecessary scenes, few would argue that this movie would look better on the big screen.
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