Everyone familiar with English literature must know Hamlet, the famous play by William Shakespeare. Though the play is known worldwide, the origin is not known as much as the latter.
Shakespeare got the idea for Hamlet from the works of Saxo Grammaticus, a 12th-century historian who wrote the legend of Amleth.
Amleth lost his father to his uncle and went on an act of revenge to avenge the death. In modern times, Robert Eggers recently directed the revenge epic The Northman narrating the story of tragic hero Amleth.
Amleth’s story is not just a revenge-driven story. As a director with a penchant for details and gaining wide success with indie movies, Robert Eggers portrayed the hero in his way, including many elements of Norse mythology and mysticism.
Depicting the film in a dark environment and showing the primal rage of the vengeful characters gives it a visceral experience.
Amleth is a prince and an heir to the throne of Hrafnseyri, currently belonging to his father Aurvandill. The king seems to be killed by his uncle Fjölnir in the act of betrayal and to usurp the throne.
Barely surviving from him, Amleth swore to seek revenge on Fjölnir and save his mother queen Gudrún and the kingdom.
As the story progresses, he trained until adulthood to be capable enough to face his uncle and the memory of his father’s death fuels his yearning for revenge. But he gradually realises that he can’t defeat Fjölnir alone. He encounters mystics from the present and past, who direct him on the path to avenge Aurvandill’s death.
Amleth also falls in love with Olga, a sorceress who also teams up with him on his journey. He thinks of abandoning his thirst for revenge as soon as he learns about his unborn offspring.
But will they be safe while Fjölnir is still alive? He plots with Olga to kill Fjölnir for a safe future. Only careful schemings and determination can end this revenge tale and make peace for Amleth.
The Northman has an outstanding cast, including Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, and William Dafoe among others.
After the success of The Witch and The Lighthouse, Eggers took on an ambitious project to depict this Norse mythology-inspired saga. The ingrained show of violence and depiction of bleak landscapes of Scandinavia shows the passion and talent of the director behind this film.
Nevertheless, The Northman is an exciting historical epic to watch for Vikings and Norse mythology enthusiasts.