Sunday, May 19, 2024

“Northman” focuses on the artistic side and ignores the characters


A sky streaked with green, yellow or red, and a volcano spewing lava over fields where cattle graze… a sight you can only see in the world’s northernmost island, Iceland.

There is no place like Iceland in the world, and it inspires filmmakers to choose it as a location for historical epics or sci-fi films. Iceland was the setting for Christopher Nolan’s 2014 epic “Interstellar” and the 2013 film Oblivion starring Tom Cruise, and “Thor,” and the epic series “Game of Thrones.” Thrones”. The reason is that Iceland has a nature that seems to have come from another planet.

The Northman, Robert Eggers, director to his credits: The Witch and The Lighthouse, 2015 and 2019.

The film is about a revenge story set in the tenth century during a Viking invasion. Eckers, who is interested in history, wrote the text in collaboration with the Icelandic novelist and poet Skoen, and the text draws inspiration from Icelandic folklore and the Scandinavian tradition of the story from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Simple story

“The Northman” was Eggers’ first attempt to enter the field of studio films and mass distribution, as the previous two films were independent and had limited distribution. In terms of budget, his previous two films had a combined budget of $15 million, while “The Northman” had a budget of $90 million.

The story is very simple: Prince Amelith (who can take the last letter of the English name and name it Hamlet first), and he impersonates him as a boy named Oscar Novak, welcomes his father Viking King Orvandal (Ethan Hawke, who comes from the war, and the boy prepares to rule the tribe after his father.

The king and his son confront the king’s half-brother Fulner (Clais Bong), so Fulner betrays and kills the king and tries to kill Amelith, but the latter escapes and repeats the following words: “Father, I will avenge you. I will save you, my mother, I will kill you, Fulner.”

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These words, the closest to a psalm, are the entire story of the film. As the years pass, the boy grows up (portrayed by Swede Alexander Skarsgård), grows stronger and becomes a valiant warrior, and returns to avenge his uncle, who captured his mother Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) and took her away.

Emotional impact

Eggers is a unique artist, his ideas are powerful and unique, and he knows how to write them, craft them, and set their rhythm. Although the film is an updated take on a classic story, Eggers isn’t as successful as he was in his previous film, “The Lighthouse,” which we wrote about in this space in January 2020.

The film borrows elements from both The Revenant and Gladiator and is technically closer to the first film. In the 137 minutes that make up the film, Amelit manages to avenge her father’s death, save her mother, and confront her uncle; But all this happens without any emotional impact.

The impact of emotion is necessary in this kind of revenge story, because it helps the audience understand the hero’s motive, but Eggers, knowing that this aspect – that is, emotions – is present even in his dull films, does not focus on this point. Type.

Eggers is very busy creating the atmosphere of the film and is primarily a film set designer, interested in making the atmosphere as exotic as possible by introducing elements of magic, fantasy and folklore, and the entire film showcases his skills and talents. The director at the expense of his characters.

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The film failed miserably at the American box office, and its revenue stopped at 68 million dollars, similar to Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, and the funny thing is that both films are of the same quality: historical epics, or what is called in English “sword and sandal” films.

At the time, Scott attributed his film’s failure to “teenage audiences who refuse to receive any information unless it’s via smartphone!”. That is, teenagers discover movies through certain channels they follow on “social media”.

Reasons for failure There are many reasons for the failure of “Northman”, the first of which is the lack of audience for big budget films with an artistic focus. Second, it’s a theory that’s starting to become very clear these days and says that once television masters a series of a certain quality, that quality will leave cinema and move to television, and this is the “Game of Thrones” series, the genre of historical/fantasy epics that has revolutionized the culture of the past decade. Joined, millions of people around the world watched it.

While many attempts were made to make historical epic films similar to the situation of the series, all of them failed at the box office without exception, despite the fact that they were filled with first-class movie stars and a famous director like Ridley Scott. “The audience for this kind of movie is at home, not in the cinema,” said Ben Affleck, who appeared under Scott’s “The Last Devil.”

A third reason for the failure of “The Northman” was that its marketing campaign made serious mistakes, the most famous of which was placing movie posters in New York subway stations without posters bearing the film’s title! This is despite the cost of the marketing campaign taking up a large portion of the film’s budget.

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A hero without a mask

Performance and lack of surprise hurt “The Northman,” and it made “The Lighthouse” a classic.

The biggest problem with “The Northman” is its unbelievable hero because he lacks “charisma”. Son of Alexander

Sweden’s first star, Stellan Skarsgård, is one of the cutest young Swedish movie stars, but he can’t

He carries a film of this size on his shoulders, and despite his muscles on screen, there is a palpable emptiness in his eyes.

• At 137 minutes, the duration of the film, its earnings stopped at 68 million dollars in the United States.

• There are many reasons for the failure of “Northman”, the first of which is the lack of audience for big budget films with an artistic focus.

Although the film is an updated take on a classic story, Eggers is not as successful as he was in his previous film, “The Lighthouse.”

• There is no place in the world like Iceland, which inspires filmmakers to choose it as a location for their historical epics or sci-fi.

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Pandora Bacchus
Pandora Bacchus
"Coffee evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Hardcore creator. Infuriatingly humble zombie ninja. Writer. Introvert. Music fanatic."

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