It’s difficult to review a film that you know has class brimming from every orifice – but is impossible to wholeheartedly recommend to your average cinema-goer.
That’s because this beautifully-crafted, superbly acted and mythology-heavy adventure deserves immense plaudits – but it’s not as commercially accessible as you might expect.
If you’re imagining Vikings: The Movie – piggy-backing on the recent fan favourite success of the Amazon/Netflix TV series’ – then you may be disappointed.
It’s a slow, methodical, predominantly Iceland-set Viking tale of revenge from acclaimed filmmaker Robert Eggers – the man behind the critically-lauded The Witch and The Lighthouse – chock-full of willing participants, from the director to the cast, from the producers to the cinematographers. That is never in doubt at any point.
When Prince Amleth’s (The Legend of Tarzan’s Alexander Skarsgard) father King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) is killed by his brother Fjonir (Claes Bang) – the youngster escapes the Irish shores and is raised in Russia as a ‘berzerker’.
Some twenty or so years later, the angry warrior learns his uncle has been exiled to Iceland after being overthrown by Harald of Norway – and is living in this barren country after taking Amleth’s mother Queen Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) as his wife.
Under the guise of a slave – aided by Anya Taylor-Joy’s (The Queen’s Gambit) sorceress Olga – he systematically starts to kill off Fjonir’s men as he ‘toys’ with his father’s killer as he looks to exact his ultimate goal of vengeance.
Through some gruesome action set-pieces and Eggers’ attention to detail of Viking lore – that sees noteworthy cameos from the likes of Willem Dafoe and Bjork – this all comes together as one sensationally-defined historical piece.
Headlined by great performances from Skarsgard, and in particular, the ever-evolving Taylor-Joy – everyone literally gives their heart and soul to Eggers’ vision.
Unfortunately – as a bewildered couple sitting close to me who left after an hour proved – this won’t be to everyone’s taste, as it’s definitely closer to the art-house spectrum of things for a bigger-budgeted film.
But in terms of paying breathtaking cinematic homage to the source material, this would be worthy of ascending to Valhalla.
Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now
Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Gustav Lindh, Willem Dafoe & Bjork
Running Time: 2 Hrs 17 Mins
Director: Robert Eggers
Go to www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux.