|05.13.22||Internet|| Something about Robert Eggers movies makes me feel like they're all in black and white even when they're not. My memory of The VVitch is that there's no color but I guess that's just the poster? The Lighthouse was black and white, at least as I remember today, and I could've sworn the trailers and poster for this was monochromatic as well. But instead it's a really crazy color grading where... I guess the thinking was that moonlight is basically black and white? So to photograph scenes lit only by the moon they drain all the color, but give it back with torchlight? Either way, it's a really affected desaturated look even when the reds intentionally pop to draw the eye. I'm sure in 6 weeks I'll think this was basically the same.|
So... Let's start with the good. There are currently a ton of viking shows on streaming but as far as movies not that many are coming to mind. Since I haven't seen any of the recent shows then I'm not sure how this compares, but compared to other movies I've seen this holds up as a very authentic, gritty if straight-forward revenge tale that maybe stands out for firmly embracing the mythology and belief of the time. The fantasy elements are welcome (to me) and everybody puts forward a suitably gruff and macho performance. Really the production design and all the physicality of the look and feel of the film are where the movie shines. Everything looks exactly as it should and you immediately feel immersed in this world. The part that I definitely liked the most though was the music. It's like a more ominous and intense version of The Witcher 3 soundtrack with antiquated instruments but with a modern mindset. Especially the beginning, I feel like the narrative takes a back seat to the music, letting it wash over us as we take in the visuals and set design of the Skyrim-like village or whatever. Pretty much every track would be amazing in the ol' DnD playlist.
The weakest part for me was probably the story. It's pretty straight-forward and familiar. It felt to me like a smoothie made from Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Revenant, with the result being not as good as any single ingredient. It was executed well though, so I don't want to make it sound like I think the movie is shit. But some of the digital gore, while cool in design, looked too digital for me. I think maybe the color grading as well... these elements give the film a digitally enhanced look that goes against the organic simplicity of the setting and story. So that stuff kinda deflates my enthusiasm for the movie to the point where I'm not sure if I'm interested to see it again, but I do think it's still an interesting and cinematic thing that I'm glad it exists in today's theaters.