Arts

New to stream: The Northman and The Terminal List

Damon Smith

The Northman: Alexander Skarsgard as Amleth and Anya Taylor-Joy as Olga

THE NORTHMAN (Cert 15, 137 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Action/Adventure/Romance, available now via Premium Video On Demand rental, available from July 4 on Amazon/BT TV Store/Curzon Home Cinema/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from July 18 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £26.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £34.99)

Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Oscar Novak, Bjork.

AS A flaxen-haired youth, Amleth (Oscar Novak) is devoted to his father, King Aurvandil War-Raven (Ethan Hawke), who rules with a strong hand and the unwavering support of wife Queen Gudrun (Nicole Kidman).

Treachery consigns the king to Valhalla and Amleth watches helplessly as treacherous uncle Fjolnir (Claes Bang) seizes the throne.

"I will avenge you, father, I will save you, mother, I will kill you, Fjolnir," declares Amleth as he rows out to sea to escape knife-wielding assassins.

Many years later, Amleth (now played by Alexander Skarsgard) smuggles himself aboard a prisoner ship bound for Fjolnir's fractured tribe in Iceland.

En route to a destiny foretold by a seer (Bjork), Amleth meets resourceful captive Olga (Taylor-Joy) and they forge a pact to bring down Fjolnir.

Shot on location in Ireland, The Northman is a slow-burning and morally ambiguous thriller, inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet and Norse legend.

Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke is a master of foreboding shadows and natural light, epitomised by a fluid single take of Vikings storming one fortified outpost and massacring the menfolk.

Skarsgard and co-star Taylor-Joy are exposed in every sense, including dramatically necessary full-frontal nudity.

Kidman has only one meaty scene but seizes it by the jugular, affirming King Aurvandil's fatherly advice to always heed the power behind the glittering crown.

Mood and mythology overwhelm a simplistic revenge plot conceived by writer-director Robert Eggers and Icelandic author Sjon.

They inflate the running time beyond what feels comfortable, providing us with a physical ordeal in tandem with characters' gruelling odysseys through mud and mire.

Rating: 4/5

Chris Pratt in The Terminal List

THE TERMINAL LIST (Eight episodes, streaming from July 1 exclusively on Prime Video, Acton/Thriller/Romance)

CHRIS Pratt goes awol from the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World franchises to headline an eight-part thriller based on the best-selling novel by Jack Carr, which shoots to kill on Prime Video this week.

Lieutenant Commander James Reece (Chris Pratt) and his platoon of Navy Seals are ambushed during a high-stakes covert mission, resulting in the deaths of 12 brave men.

An internal investigation questions Reece's culpability and fuels a gnawing sense of paranoia.

Evidence comes to light that confirms Reece's worst fears – dark forces are conspiring against him and the people he loves.

He must risk everything to unmask key players in the skulduggery and avenge the men who needlessly lost their lives.

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Arts