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Though we're not quite done with big 2021 movie releases just yet, the end of the year means we're already looking ahead to 2022's biggest films, and while it's not necessarily strictly a genre release, The Northman is certainly on that list. Robert Eggers' third feature film after the powerhouses that are The Witch and The Lighthouse, the film sets up a bloody tale of vengeance in medieval Scandinavia, and now the first trailer is here to reveal what looks like Eggers' biggest film yet.
The Northman of the title is Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard), a Viking prince destined to inherit the kingdom ruled over by his beloved father (Ethan Hawke) and mother (Nicole Kidman). But a ruthless attack by a rival ruler (Claes Bang) shatters Amleth's promising childhood, plunging him into a quest for vengeance that he carries with him as he grows stronger and more determined. Driven by oracles and oaths, he pushes himself to the physical and psychological limit on his way to fulfill his promise: "I will avenge you, Father. I will save you, Mother. I will kill you, Fjolnir."
Check it out in the trailer below:
As you may have picked up, there are similarities here between Eggers' story and the story of Hamlet, because the figure of Amleth in a Scandinavian folklore was a key inspiration for Shakespeare's play. And because of those ties, and the presence of characters played by the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy and Bjork, we can also expect The Northman to at least toy with blurring the line between reality and fantasy. Yes, in many ways it's a historical epic, but it also has the makings of a Conan the Barbarian-style tale of supernaturally driven might, and given Eggers' previous efforts, it wouldn't be surprising to see him push the film into less realistic realms. Flashes of imagery in the trailer already hint at that, and at the very least the film seems determined to portray Skarsgard as an almost supernaturally driven presence.
With a cast that also includes Willem Dafoe, Kate Dickie, Ralph Ineson, and Game of Thrones' Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, The Northman promises to be an ensemble epic you won't want to miss. The film storms into theaters April 22.