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The Northman

RATING
4 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

I have been a fan of literature and one of the playwrights whom I found most fascinating was William Shakespeare. The world which he created, along with some well fleshed out characters was intriguing and most of the times delicious. And so the cinematic adaptations of his plays are equally intriguing given that the setting could change but the basic human tendency would remain the same. With that I finished watching the new English film The Northman which is loosely based on the Shakespearean play Hamlet. When I recall the onscreen adaptations, one that instantly flashes before me is the Vishal Bhardwaj directed Haider which for me is one of the finest adaptations yet. That said, does The Northman manage to impress, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

The Northman follows the story of a young Viking Prince who will stop at nothing in avenging his father’s murder. The story is an official adaptation of Hamlet with a background of Vikings. So if you have read the Hamlet, you would know exactly where the film is headed. But the screenplay offers you a refreshing medieval world where the drama is set in. The screenplay moves at a brisk pace wherein you are quickly introduced to the main players before the ultimate tragedy. But a striking aspect of it is the entire Viking culture with elements of the rituals shown expertly. The atmospherics created here compliments the mood of the drama so well. There are innumerous sequences which will manage to hold your attention, at times with the rituals or at times with gore and violence. A small complaint which I had was that in the original play, the protagonist had a dilemma(if you remember, To Be Or Not To Be, That Is The Question). That same dilemma is slightly diluted out to suit the narrative, something which I felt could have been explored better(remember this film is only loosely adapted from Hamlet). But the sequence leading up to the final act is arousing including, a visually stunning final face off which is an absolute treat. Overall, the screenplay is brilliantly penned.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The Northman follows the story of a young Viking Prince who will stop at nothing in avenging his father’s murder. The story is an official adaptation of Hamlet with a background of Vikings. So if you have read the Hamlet, you would know exactly where the film is headed. But the screenplay offers you a refreshing medieval world where the drama is set in. The screenplay moves at a brisk pace wherein you are quickly introduced to the main players before the ultimate tragedy. But a striking aspect of it is the entire Viking culture with elements of the rituals shown expertly. The atmospherics created here compliments the mood of the drama so well. There are innumerous sequences which will manage to hold your attention, at times with the rituals or at times with gore and violence. A small complaint which I had was that in the original play, the protagonist had a dilemma(if you remember, To Be Or Not To Be, That Is The Question). That same dilemma is slightly diluted out to suit the narrative, something which I felt could have been explored better(remember this film is only loosely adapted from Hamlet). But the sequence leading up to the final act is arousing including, a visually stunning final face off which is an absolute treat. Overall, the screenplay is brilliantly penned.

Performances

The performances are excellent. Ethan Hawke shines in a cameo as King Aurvandil. Gustav Lindh as Thorir, Elliot Rose as Gunner and Eldar Skar as Finnr all have their moments to shine. Anya Taylor-Joy as Olga looks pretty and does a swell job. Nicole Kidman as Queen Gudrun has a layered character and she pulls it off with aplomb. Claes Bang as Fjolnir is well measured and a perfect nemesis to the protagonist. Alexander Skarsgard as Amleth(notice the name) is the pulse of the film. He lives every beat of his character and makes it one of the more memorable portrayals of Hamlet in a brilliant act.

Conclusion

The Northman is an excellent adaptation of The Hamlet filled with gore and violence and The Vikings. This one is Highly Recommended from my end.

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