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Robert Eggers
Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke
Writing Credits:
Robert Eggers, Sjón

A young Viking prince embarks on a quest to avenge his father's murder.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English Dolby Atmos
English DVS
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 137 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 6/7/2022

• Audio Commentary With Co-Writer/Director Robert Eggers
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “An Ageless Epict” Featurette
• “The Faces of Vikings” Featurette
• “Amleth’s Journey to Manhood” Featurette
• “Shooting the Raid” Featurette
• “Knattleikr Game” Featurette
• “A Norse Landscape” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Northman [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 22, 2022)

For the third film from noted director Robert Eggers, we head to 2022’s The Northman. Whereas his first two – 2015’s The Witch and 2019’s The Lighthouse - maintained a pretty tight focus, Northman attempts something more epic in scope.

Set in the North Atlantic territory circa the late 9th century, King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) prepares young Prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) to eventually take over the throne. However, the king’s half-brother Fjölnir (Claes Bang) murders Aurvandil and Amleth flees.

As an adult (Alexander Skarsgård), Amleth returns home to regain his rightful reign. This leads him on a bloody campaign against his enemies.

Like I noted at the start, Northman represents Eggers’ third feature, and it comes with greater expectations than his first two. Some of that comes from the positive reaction accorded Witch and Lighthouse, but a change also came from the cost of the movie.

Both Witch and Lighthouse offered affairs with modest budgets, as the former cost $4 million and the latter required $11 million. Both also wound up with low receipts, as they earned $40 million and $18 million, respectively.

Based on those two movies, Eggers gave off the air of a niche filmmaker who pursued deliberately stark and “artsy” movies. In other words, he seemed like the kind of director who could expect modest budgets since the flicks appeared unlikely to turn profits if saddled with higher costs.

I guess someone disagreed, as Northman enjoyed a $90 million budget. Given that some modern movies run over $200 million, that doesn’t seem ridiculously expensive in the abstract.

However, those films tend to exist as parts of franchises or at least they involve filmmakers with hits under their belts. Given that Eggers’ first two flicks seemed to brand him as an art house eccentric, it felt shocking that a studio threw $90 million his way.

With a worldwide gross a tad under $68 million, Northman indeed proved to become a poor financial bet. Perhaps the studio felt it was worth the monetary loss to maintain a relationship with a well-regarded director like Eggers, but this sure doesn’t make much monetary sense.

Put bluntly, $90 million seems like a lot of money to give to a filmmaker who makes no concession to a broader audience. Though it does attempt a more epic tale than Eggers’ first two flicks, Northman nonetheless remains very much part of his oeuvre, for better or for worse.

If one falls into the camp that likes Eggers’ stark and quirky ways, then they should appreciate this. To be sure, the relatively high budget allows Eggers to pursue a scale that he couldn’t achieve on his earlier films.

But again, this led to assumptions about how the film would perform with an audience, and given that Northman lost buckets of money, it seems tough to justify the decisions made here. If the end product worked better, I might not harp on this subject, but unfortunately, Northman fails to coalesce into an interesting tale.

Eggers desperately wants to provide a grand epic, but Northman just seems silly and overdone. It’s easier to view this as a parody of flicks like Conan the Barbarian than a dramatic project in its own right.

Eggers ladles out endless, empty and overwrought symbolism. Though connected to Hamlet - which Shakespeare based on the Amleth legend - Northman really does come across like an arthouse version of Conan, and not a good one.

Eggers gets nearly fetishistic with his focus on “period accuracy”. He appears utterly unconcerned about story, characters and the like, as he becomes hung up on “authenticity” to the exclusion of all else.

This leads to many long, pointless scenes. For instance, we get one in which Vikings rage around a fire for seemingly endless minutes, little of which serves the story.

Perhaps all this exactly represents what Eggers wanted. Maybe he desired a film more about mood and visuals than actual narrative and characters.

Which is fair. There’s room in the world for movies that don’t adhere to standard narrative structures.

The problem is that Northman just ends up as boring. Eggers creates a movie that looks good but it becomes so dull and plodding that it loses the viewer well it finally concludes.

I find a lot to admire about Eggers as a filmmaker, as he takes chances and sticks with his particular vision. However, he needs to provide a compelling tale to go with this, and Northman doesn’t ring that bell.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

The Northman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie presented strong visuals.

Across the board, definition seemed good. Even with a mix of low-light sequences, the film appeared accurate and concise, as only a smidgen of slightly soft shots emerged.

Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t mar the presentation, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

In terms of palette, Northman went with a heavy teal orientation, though it tossed in more than a little orange/amber as well – and the teal occasionally veered gray. Within stylistic choices, the hues seemed well-depicted.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows gave us good clarity, albeit a smidgen heavy at times. I felt pleased with this transfer.

As for the Dolby Atmos audio, it offered a broad soundscape. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this meant a nice array of action and moody elements.

Along with good stereo music, the soundfield was able to open things up in a satisfying manner that embellished the story. We got a fine sense of various components along with a useful sense of the action bits, some of which worked really well.

Audio quality was always good. Music appeared full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy. Low-end appeared deep and rich.

Speech was natural and distinctive throughout the film. The mix used the speakers well and created a quality impression of the material.

The disc comes with a mix of extras, and we open with an audio commentary from co-writer/director Robert Eggers. He offers a running, screen-specific look at research and attempts at realism, sets and locations, photography and editing, various design choices, story/characters, cast and performances, and related topics.

Expect a commentary that focuses on the technical side of the production. This means that while Eggers occasionally touches on the narrative/creative side of matters, most of the chat goes with nuts and bolts.

To a degree, this becomes informative, but at times, Eggers’ notes can feel tedious. He devotes so much effort to a recitation of all the stabs at period accuracy that the track can become dull. While we get some decent information overall, I wish Eggers gave us a more balanced piece.

Nine Deleted and Extended Scenes span a total of 12 minutes, 28 seconds. These mix exposition with some of the same self-indulgence found in the final film.

Actually, because Eggers seems to prefer the less story-related material, we find some fairly useful plot/character information here. Despite the aforementioned “self-indulgence”, the fact decent story tidbits show up here means we get a better than average collection of cut scenes.

Six featurettes follow, and An Ageless Epic goes for 11 minutes, 17 seconds. It offers notes from Eggers, master armourer Tommy Dunne, production designer Craig Lathrop, costume cutter Nille Glaesel, producers Lars Knudsen and Mark Huffam, costume designer Linda Muir, director of photography Jarin Blaschke, special effects supervisor Sam Conway, and actors Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Alexander Skarsgård and Willem Dafoe.

“Epic” looks at historical material and Eggers’ approach as well as period details and authenticity. We hear a lot of self-praise for the latter and not a lot of concrete information.

The Faces of Vikings lasts 10 minutes, 27 seconds and involves Eggers, Skarsgård, Taylor-Joy, Hawke, Bang, Dafoe, and actor Gustav Lindh.

“Faces” covers story/characters and cast/performances. A few decent notes materialized but most of this feels like superficial promo stuff.

With Amleth’s Journey to Manhood, we find a three-minute, 56-second piece that features Eggers, Skarsgård, Hawke, Lathrop and Dafoe.

As expected, we find more character thoughts here. The content remains pretty superficial.

Shooting the Raid occupies four minutes, 10 seconds and includes material from Blaschke, Skarsgård, Eggers, Lathrop, Dunne, Conway, and stunt coordinator CC Smiff.

“Raid” covers aspect of that scene’s creation. Once again, we locate some worthwhile insights, but these become buried under the hype.

Next comes Knattleikr Game, a two-minute, 42-second reel with Eggers, Skarsgård, Lathrop, Huffam, Bang, and supervising location manager Naomi Liston.

This piece delivers notes about the sequence in question. Unsurprisingly, it becomes another erratic reel.

Finally, A Norse Landscape runs four minutes, 43 seconds and provides notes from Hawke, Eggers, Skarsgård, Lathrop, Dunne, Blaschke, Taylor-Joy, Bang, Huffam, Liston,

We get thoughts about the challenges of the locations. It follows the same mediocre path of its predecessors.

The disc opens with ads for House of Gucci, Licorice Pizza, Blacklight and Cyrano. No trailer for Northman appears here.

With a focus on production design and period realism above all else, The Northman delivers a movie that always looks great. However, it fails to find a compelling story or vivid characters, so it turns into a crashing bore. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture and audio as well as a mix of bonus materials. Hopefully Robert Eggers will bounce back with his next movie, as this one feels like a dud.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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