Robert Eggers is only two features into his directing career, but he has already established himself as one of the most distinctive voices working in film today. After breaking out with the period horror film “The Witch” in 2015, he made one of the most uniquely unclassifiable movies in recent memory with “The Lighthouse” (which also treated cinephiles to a Robert Pattinson performance for the ages).
Expectations were destined to be high for his third feature, and rather than rest on his laurels, Eggers chose to take on the most ambitious project of his career. “The Northman” is a viking revenge epic that has captured the film community’s attention for its historical accuracy and infamously difficult 87 day shoot. Much of the film’s cast have weighed in on the brutal conditions and meticulous perfectionism that went into Egger’s attempt to recreate the viking era, but they have all expressed confidence that the finished product is something truly special.
And Alfonso Cuarón agrees with them.
In a new story in The New Yorker about “The Northman,” the “Gravity” and “Roma” director revealed that he has seen the film and was blown away by it. “Every single frame is charged with all the thematic elements of the whole film,” Cuarón said. “I have to say, it is very complex, it is very complicated what he does.”
Cuarón went on to say that the brutal shoot resulted in a viewing experience that makes viewers feel like they are actually in Iceland with the vikings. “The impression is almost of intoxication,” he said. “You are there, and you’re breathing with those actors.”
Cuarón and Eggers have been close since Cuarón read an early draft of “The Witch” in 2013 and recognized Eggers as a unique talent. He recalled being impressed by Eggers’ refusal to treat the supernatural elements of the film as distinctly separate from the more realistic parts. Instead, he argues, Eggers chose to treat everything like one coherent whole.
“I was just in awe of it,” Cuarón said. “It’s as if those [supernatural] elements are as natural as the weather. And people coexist with those elements as a matter of existence. There’s no question about the existence of witches. There’s no ulterior explanation. . . . It was just witches.”
“The Northman” will be released in theaters on April 22.
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