Honor and justice are the main motivations of a story of revenge directed by Robert Eggers, visually stunning and less commercial than it seems in its promotion.
‘The Man from the North’ is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Released a week ago in some international markets, the box office figures have not accompanied the ‘hype’, read oversized expectations, but those who follow the career of the suggestive Robert Eggers should not be scared. Looking at the box office, his authorial gaze is undeniable, for better or for worse, which makes it naive to expect a blockbuster to use, despite the apparently commercial theme. He became known with the stimulating ‘The VVitch’, a disturbing rural drama with fantastic touches that was intended to be sold as pure and simple horror cinema.
He continued with ‘El faro’, existential horror disguised as something else in the promotional campaign. It was to be expected, therefore, the disconcerting reception of his latest piece, already a cult favorite before visiting the billboard. While the cabals continue about its possible economic debacle, which is not creative -it has cost close to 90 million dollars, well above the previous proposals of its director-, with the US exhibition circuit in the target, it is time to vindicate At this point, that cinema that crashes against the general public but makes history. Great masterpieces of the seventh art certify this.
We can understand ‘The Northman’ as Eggers’ ‘Valhalla Rising’. If the terrestrial film by Nicolas Winding Refn is incapable of leaving anyone indifferent, because its initial appearance breaks into a thousand pieces and offers the viewer to travel through other more surprising channels, the new film by the audacious creator of ‘The Lighthouse’ also bets on the atmosphere and visual power, to the detriment of an easily digestible linear story. There are brutal action scenes, which can lead to deception in the trailer -it’s not ‘Vikings’-, but also dialogues that seek a certain transcendence, perhaps without needing it.
Alexander Skarsgard in ‘The Man from the North’.
Revenge is the engine of a bloody tale set in Iceland in the 10th century. A Nordic prince, given a face -and muscles- by Alexander Skarsgård, returns to his homeland to amend the honor of his ancestors. Nothing more is needed to offer a show that consciously avoids clichés about Viking culture and the genre itself. Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Björk complete the main cast.
Artistic references and excess as a capital expressive resource are present in ‘El hombre del norte’, according to Eggers’ interests, who already made his postulates clear in the exquisite ‘The VVitch’. Once again entering the jaws of a film of his vintage, without prejudice, seems vital to be hypnotized by his approach and be enveloped by his gloomy atmosphere. The public sitting in his seat is witness to a sensory film, which flees from the obvious, with all that this means in terms of ticket sales.
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