wonderful and suggestive nordic epic

There are more and more voices – including mine – which, perhaps in a sign of premature senescence, shout to the heavens while raising their hands to their heads in front of an alleged state of the current film industry in which the creativity and risk, or seem to have died in favor of franchises and formulasor have been banished to the depths of the gigantic and labyrinthine catalogs of streaming platforms.

But, in the midst of what seems to be a radical change in the trend of consumption, production and distribution habits, there are still authors and companies that continue to risk and bring titles to theaters that, in the middle of 2022, could almost be considered as small miracles. Without going any further, the premiere of ‘X’ by Ti West is just around the corner, but the most recent sample of this sort of resistance filmic is the huge viking epic ‘The man from the north’.

After captivating — more on the festival circuit than among traditional audiences, it must be said — with his exceptional debut ‘The Witch’ and that feverish monochrome nightmare entitled ‘The Lighthouse’, Robert Eggers has returned to the fray with a new rarity in which terror, revenge and Nordic mythology go hand in hand in one of the most suggestive and visceral shows that we have been able to enjoy on the big screen in recent years.

The atmosphere against the sword

Anyone who is familiar with Eggers’ previous work will be able to sense right off the bat that ‘The Man from the North’ is by no means a conventional film. Once again, the native of New Hampshire has once again manifested his enormous passion for the great European filmmakers by filtering the narrative and conceptual bases of ‘Conan the Barbarian’ through the prism of legends such as Carl Theodor Dreyer, Werner Herzog —it is difficult not to think of his ‘Aguirre’— or the Tarkovsky from ‘Andrei Rublev’.

Although the advances published to date may invite us to think of an orgy of violence, sword blows and a Scandinavian vendetta – elements that are present, and in not a few quantities – the film reveals itself to be much more interested in simmer the folklore of the area while getting it under the skin of the viewer embracing own codes of horror and without hesitation in betting on the oneiric; generating an atmosphere as magnetic as it is unhealthy and rarefied.

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If these claims are so satisfactory, it is largely thanks to exceptional formal treatment and, in its own way, beautiful, which might invite you to think of a multi-million dollar alternative to Nicholas Winding Refn’s magnificent ‘Valhalla Rising’. Eggers’ care in planning and staging is once again combined with the cinematography of Garden Blaschke —its flagship PDO—, which prints unforgettable snapshots on 35mm; including some sweeping close-ups shot with Petzval lenses.

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Unfortunately, the overflowing talent that distills each of its scenes, the viscerality that surrounds its plot and the brilliant way in which it is transferred to the screen will not be easy for everyone to digest, in part, thanks to some trailers that put all the meat on the grill, ignoring a tone and a cadence that They have little in common with Schwarzenegger dismembering enemies in the aforementioned John Milius gem. However, whoever indulges without prejudice in the many pleasures offered by ‘The Northman’ will discover one of those unique and endangered works condemned, unfairly, to hit a tremendous hit at the box office.