37 thoughts on “The Northman (2022)

  1. Well this doesn’t look half bad! Thrilled to see some authenticity. I’m so glad that first photo was of the fucking Vikings. Prick flap but bare torso?! And wtf are those elaborate metal cuffs meant to protect – the radial artery?! But the thing that’s really ticking me off about all these ancient historical flicks is the glowering, frowning, puckered foreheads and menacing narrowed eyes, long stringy hair, tanned (dirty?) skin. Give it a damn rest fgs.

    1. Heaven knows I’ve got no problem with muscular half dressed men but the strngy hair and dirt are a libel on historical vikings who were known for their good grooming and counted combs as their most treasured possessions.

  2. Yes and I know it is probably the historic legend/tale or whatever that Will Shakespeare used as a basis for Hamlet. BTW I’m re-watching Upstart Crow and I can’t stop laughing. Duh as Susannah might say. Gemma Whelan is my fav as Kate the landlady’s polyglot daughter who is probably the smartest of all the characters with Baldrick and Anne coming a close second.

    1. Norsemen is definitely still up there, but the costumes in The Northman were more accurate by a wide margin.

  3. Well, personally I prefer long haired bearded Vikings with as little clothes on as possible 😁 (are the belly buttons accurate? Should they be inies or outies?)

    But seriously, “The Northman” looks good. I’ll have to calm down and take a good look.

    1. There’s enough nekkid Skarsgard in the flick to satisfy the most discerning aficionados of long haired bearded Vikings. Including the naked sword fight finale that takes place in an active volcano. Hamlet ain’t got nothin’ on this Dane.

  4. The only possibly slavic element I see in Seer’s dress is krajka, that means the woven belt she wears. Okay, if I squint REALLY hard her headdress resembless kokoshnik, but that’s all. The rest is pure bullshit, Take a word of a Slavic woman for that.

    1. As someone who is starting to dip her toes into this period of historical Eastern Slavic costume, I do agree that the Slavic costumes were much less stringently researched than the Norse costumes. I think Muir was going for a way to make it easy for audiences to see the difference between the two cultures so opted to include the post-period embroidery all over Olga’s tunic to evoke Slavic folk embroidery motifs. I think the result is unobtrusive enough to let it slide into the category of “sort of, but not really”.

      The Seeress is total fantasy, but I thought it struck a good balance between folk imagery and mystical force of nature. She’s in the film for a hot second, in a vision that Amleth has about how he’s going to be the foundation of a new bloodline or whatever, and then is never referenced again. They do something similar with The Witch (who is played by a man) who shows Amleth more of his destiny in a series of really whacked out vision trips, where The Witch’s costume has elements of female Norse dress, but it’s all just “off” to show he’s definitely not grounded in reality.

      1. Well, it’s not that unobtrusive unfortunately, because they used the elements of folk costumes and these are quite modern in Slavic corner in the world, most of them were created in like mid 19th century, after the political and economical changes improved the situation of the peasants enough to allow them to dabble a bit in a fashion, so to speak. So, these folks costumes are much, much later than the period shown in Nothman and it’s jarring to me, see all these so very not medieval aprons and skirts.

  5. My favorite SCA garb was my tunics and aprons with tablet woven trim, TONS of embroidery, and more TONS of lampworked beads. Definitely my favorite to make!

    1. I wish I was any good at embroidery, because the Norse embroidery stuff I see people doing is SO amazing. Seriously, if you love surface embellishment, Norse is the way to go. Historical costumers tend to dismiss it because it’s all wool and linen and the clothes aren’t fitted tight to the body, but it’s such a rich culture/era for clothing and jewelry (ESPECIALLY THE JEWELRY) and I wish it got more love in the general costuming spheres outside of reenactment.

      1. There’s very little embroidery/applique embellishment evident in extant Viking culture clothing. The extensive use of embroidery in that type of costuming is mostly down to SCA and reenactor over-enthusiasm for embellishment, some of it fueled by European museum attempts to suck in attendees by giving them fancy “recreations” of Viking Age outfits like the Mammen one.

  6. I had been real meh on this flick but this solid assessment might actually compel me to see it.

    1. I really enjoyed the film in general, but the costumes were what tipped me over from “cool flick with a half nekkid Skarsgard” into “I will make my friends watch this over and over with me.”

  7. I watched this with a dear friend in the theatre. We made a man behind us laugh his head off listening to us nerd on the trims and the weaves of the fabrics etc as we left. This is a brutal movie, but, y’all- it’s good.

    1. LOL! That was me and my boyfriend. I had to keep shushing him in the theatre because he kept excitedly yammering in my ear about some element or reference or weapon or or or… He also kept pointing out the extras that he knew from the European Viking reenactment circles and all the jewelry made by his friend Alban, etc. He knows Nille, too, so I’m trying to see if I can get him to connect us for a more in-depth interview.

      I threatened to make him do a podcast with me on this film and he kind of got quiet for about 4 minutes before it started all over again. 😂

      1. “He knows Nille, too, so I’m trying to see if I can get him to connect us for a more in-depth interview.”

        That would be great! I hope this works out!

  8. Shirtless Skarsgård and NO mention of “the V”???

    That other reviewer would be so disappointed.

    1. I mean, I did point him out in the background… LOL

      He’s a damn fine specimen of a man for damn sure.

  9. The Vampire Diaries is always lowering standards! Seriously, with the leather corset? I’ll take the Northman please!

  10. I actually feel a bit icky saying this, but I didn’t like it as a movie. Loved Egger’s first two films though. The story is paper thin, the romance listless and a distraction if anything, and the acting inconsistent. Other Early Medieval Scandinavian revenge tales are also straightforward – like Hrafninn flýgur (When the Raven Flies) (1984) and Ofelaš (Pathfinder) (1987), but they somehow pull it off… better. (The latter in part because of it’s unique arrangement of story structure.) And you can’t chalk it up to the influence of the sagas; this movie doesn’t feel like a saga story-wise. The sagas aren’t straightforward and are full of twists, turns, and a series of events. They’re epics rather than single episodes.

    For the acting, I’m curious to know why the male actors so often talk in their “false notes”. Do they think it makes them sound more Nordic or just more macho? Either way, it’s hokey rather than intimidating. The child actors are plainly bad. This is all odd to me since the acting tone in Egger’s first two films was very well controlled. For a film at this production level, that acting should not be acceptable.

    For me, Útlaginn (Outlaw: The Saga of Gisli) (1981) remains the best depiction of Viking [Early Medieval Scandinavian] culture. Now, I’m not the sort who can visually spot tablet weaving so I completely cannot comment on that. But I do see fewer concessions to modernity – no modern bodybuilders, no modern horses, and no Hollywood-esque end fight sequence. Eggers does admit the end fight is something “actual Vikings” would find ridiculous. Útlaginn has a major advantage because it didn’t care how much it felt like a movie. Eggers, in large part because of his producers, had to dance that line and it comes off stilted.

    I did love the set design of The Northman, however – it looked great. Apparently they couldn’t even use as much real wood as they wanted but you could have fooled me!

    I wanted to like this movie more than I did. I still plan on seeing anything Eggers makes in the future. There’s a lot visually to recommend this film; I just wish it was used on a better story.

    1. Thank you for your detailed critique! It’s absolutely a valid critique of the shortcomings of the film, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s PERFECT, but it gets a lot more right (particularly with costuming, which is the focus of this blog, afterall) than it gets glaringly wrong. A lot of what the experts are nitpicking over are very detailed things that I’m assuming Eggers glossed over because there was just no way to include that level of detail in a film. I think he’s a director who treads a very fine line between getting things as authentic as possible without going too far into the deep end, and when the only other mainstream competition is Vikings, I think it’s ok to gloss over some things in the name of advancing the story/vision for the widest audience possible. While I would love a wildly hyper authentic film about Norse culture, I’m not sure the rest of the world would. People were already on the fence about The Northman because it is such a high concept film that skirts the edges of inaccessibility.

    2. I saw a Norse expert on YouTube go all gooey about how great Arvandil’s hall was.

  11. I also loved the incredible jewelry they sourced! So many gorgeous pieces by Norse reenacting artists. Loved wondering if I would see any of mine! :D

    1. Kel was watching the movie the whole time going “That’s a Wojtek, that’s an Alban, that’s another Alban, I have that brooch, I have that ring…” 😂

      I thought I saw your fancy brooches on Nicole Kidman, but I can’t find a pic of it that shows her in whole royal get up where you can clearly see the brooches she’s wearing.

      And I think it’s Ethan Hawke that’s wearing the Wojtek brooch I have been coveting for years. It’s this one with the gold center. I love Wojtek’s work so much. So cool to see so much of it featured in the film!

  12. I wonder if I could go see this and just shut my eyes when the blood starts flowing? It looks fabulous.

    1. P.S. A lurking friend adds: “Yes, the costumes in ‘Northman’ were almost perfect, but it was the typical savage Vikings torturing, pillaging, raping, and bashing children’s brains out. Where are the farmers, weavers, goatherds, blacksmiths, all the normal people who make life possible? The Vikings couldn’t live on pillage alone. I’m disappointed the director chose to perpetuate the myth.”

  13. I watched most of the movie, liked the costumes, but I could not get past the violence. And I know that that period of history was extremely violent, because how else do you conquer other nations?

  14. Aurvandil is is a Norse mythic figure, giant or Asa, associated with a star. The Old English equivalent was Earendil. A name that should strike many fantasy fans as being quite familiar.

  15. That looks interesting, although nothing can eclipse my love for the cheesy 1958 Tony Curtis film of the same name.

    1. Whoops. I meant The Vikings, not some imaginary Tony Curtis movie with the same name as this movie.

      1. We know what you meant 😁
        The Vikings has rather fewer chests but all the muscular arm and leg a girl could want.

  16. what makes it great to me is all the sourced materials from persons that recreated the materials in a traditional method and not just a mob of costumers working on materials. I feel like this movie really sourced out fabrics and jewelry and with the level of involved persons, it made everything just shine. Great job!!

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