The Northman Test Screen Reactions Reveal Björk’s Limited Role in Film.


Björk (Left) Director Robert Eggers (Right)

I have been a major advocate of Eggers’ filmmaking skills, at least ever since I saw “The Witch” at Sundance 6 years ago. He’s the real deal, even if I thought “The Lighthouse,” a compulsively watchable film, was a tad beneath Eggers’ skills as a filmmaker. “The Northman,” which finished production just a few months ago, stars Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Skarsgård, and Willem Dafoe. There is no word yet on what the plot is about, and I doubt, much like with his other films, we will get plot detail before release.

A test screening of “The Northman” happened on Tuesday at a Burbank, California AMC theatre. A few brave thespians reported back on their thoughts. Suffice to say, what we have here is an ambitious, massive even, film that is said to have a $110 million budget. Obviously, if you read the three test-screening reactions below, beware of spoilers.

Behind the scenes during filming for film “The Northman” near Torr Head, Ballycastle Co Antrim.. Vikings can be seen on set, filming with a snow machine. PICTURES..Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Reaction #1

The Northman is….. a work in progress. PAINFULLY SLOW…… THAT SAID, the first 2 acts are pretty damn solid. Act 3 is pretty abysmal, overlong, and inconsistent with the previous 2 acts. Skarsgaard is great. Kidman doesn’t come prominent until the last half. Dafoe is only in it for 2 scenes but the time he does have in it is fantastic. It’s a 2hr 45 min big budget Valhalla Rising essentially. April makes total sense……. this is not an awards movie. They have enough time to re-edit the latter 45 min. A good movie is in there. Just needs to be found. Bjork is in 2 scenes. yodels and sings in her native language. that’s it. not even exaggerating.

Reaction #2:

I was also part of the focus group and it was pretty mixed (equal amounts of the excellent/very good/good scores), mostly due to people not fully understanding the mythological aspects or the fact that there wasn’t enough romance to make you care about Skarsgard. A few people were calling him one-note because of it

Reaction #3

I liked it, which was surprising because gory period films like these aren’t normally my thing. Without getting too much into it (and there’s a lot to get into because it’s 2 and a half hours), the story is basically The Revenant with The Lighthouse type dialogue and has a lot of Norse mythology references sprinkled throughout. Felt very “gotta google this to see what it means” at times. It’s mainly Skarsgard’s show but Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicole Kidman were scene-stealers IMO. I was also expecting it to feel more ensemble-y than it ended up being, which is kind of a shame. Björk was a cameo, while Dafoe and Hawke have pretty limited screentime

“The Northman” has a screenplay co-written by Icelandic novelist and poet Sjón Sigurdsson. Expect ambiguously spooky storytelling. It was announced last week that the film will open on April 8th, 2022. There goes its Oscar-baitness, and all the better for it.

HI, I'm Jason Leverenz. Longtime fan of Björk Guðmundsdóttir & music enthusiast. Also founding member of “Björk’s Joyous Tunes” Facebook group & YouTube Channel