*I do not even know how to spoil this…
Prince Amleth is on the verge of becoming a man when his father is brutally murdered by his uncle, who kidnaps the boy’s mother. Two decades later, Amleth is now a Viking who raids Slavic villages. He soon meets a seeress who reminds him of his vow — save his mother, kill his uncle, avenge his father.
“You must choose between kindness for your kin, and hatred for your enemies.”
We have not had a good Viking movie in awhile, and man Robert Eggers decided to give us an epic and bruising story to bring us back to that world. The story he decided to tell is about Amleth, the basis for the play Hamlet, and his revenge against his uncle Fjölnir after he murders his father King Aurvandill. There is really not much more than that because simply put this is a revenge movie from start to finish, with a little bit of Eggers weirdness.
This story follows young Amleth through the murder and then we cut to an older version of Amleth who has become an absolute savage beast of a warrior. He is raiding villages, climbing walls with axes, and killing families. He meets Anya Taylor Joy’s Olga and remembers his vow to get revenge on his uncle, and decides to go into slavery in order to find his uncle and complete his destiny. It is a tale as old as time, like I said HAMLET, GLADIATOR, THE REVENANT and every other journey we have seen is informed from this story of Amleth. So to see it on screen in such brutal and visceral fashion, was a treat for me at least.
Of course, with this being a Robert Eggers movie, the technical aspects are going to be incredible and precise. The movie looks stunning and especially the action scenes which are done in long takes and make you feel like you are pillaging the villages along with the Vikings. Jarin Blaschke did the cinematography and to see the differences in his and Eggers work from THE WITCH, to THE LIGHTHOUSE, to this was stunning. They continue to change the style based on the time period and immerse you in a way that not many artists can. And I can’t not mention the pounding score from Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough. The movie is like 97% scored and the whole time they are using the score to control your emotions while you watch Amleth go to work. All of it boils down to one of the most technical movies I have seen this year.
Stock Up – Alexander Skarsgård
This guy is just an absolute tank. I do not know what his workout regime was but his lats looked like two little baby heads. He carried this story from start to finish and was so deeply committed the entire time, that if he was not all in, it would not have worked. He is reaching stardom and I look forward to whatever comes next.
Stock Neutral – Anya Taylor-Joy
She is a star and a former Juicy award winner as you all know. Coming off a weird performance in the final season of PEAKY BLINDERS, here she gets the job of being Amleth’s lover. They have a little bit of chemistry but not an overwhelming amount, which makes the ending not hit quite as hard as it should. Still she is at the top of her game right now and is appointment viewing.
Stock Up – Robert Eggers
He is 3/3 so far, and now can really do anything he wants with a good budget. He is clearly a talented guy and has some amazing ideas, even if they do not always work for me. I am fascinated by his movies though and will watch anything he puts on the screen.
Stock Neutral – Nicole Kidman
She is a legend in the game, and really saves herself here. But when she gets to break loose, that scene is some of her best work in years. It was truly a great reminder of her skill as an actor.
*A couple other tidbits
- Willem Dafoe as always is a madman and honestly should just be in every movie.
- Ethan Hawke is fantastic as always even with limited screen time.
- The pickup game that led to the head butting was just an absolutely brutal scene.
This movie has the testosterone turned up to eleven, and if you are into that you will love this movie. It is an immersive theater experience, and that is because of the craft and precision that came with every decision in the movie. I know everyone will now love it, but I had myself a great time at the theater with this one.
*You can find my 2022 Movie Rankings here.
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