The Northman contains one of the best action sequences in years 2 months ago

The Northman contains one of the best action sequences in years

The movie's stars and director tell us how the epic, massively complicated scene came together.

It all kicks off with a spear throw.

Advertisement

A group of pillaging Vikings are hiding in the trees outside a settlement when they are suddenly spotted by a guard on the wall. He throws a spear at them, but it is caught mid-air by Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard), who turns and throws it directly back at the guard, killing him immediately.

From there, Amleth and his fellow warriors lay waste to the entire settlement, raining down death and destruction upon anyone unlucky enough to be caught in their path.

And, amazingly, the entire thing is played out in a long, unbroken take, a massively impressive technical feat once you consider all of the behind-the-scenes elements that needed to be timed to perfection in order for it to work.

Advertisement

The scene takes place near the start of The Northman (our review here), one of the most unique action movies of recent years, and in the run-up to the movie's release, JOE chatted to the movie's stars Alexander Skarsgard and Anya Taylor-Joy, and you can check out that interview in full right here:

During that chat, we asked Skarsgard specifically about this massively impressive action sequence, and how it all came about from his perspective.

Skarsgard told us the following:

Advertisement

"As you see in the movie, it is the beginning of a very long sequence. A very long, elaborate shot with lots of moving pieces and technically quite challenging to get that right. We had to do it many, many, many times.

"But it was exciting because that village was so beautiful. Just walking around it before shooting, I was just amazed by how authentic it looked, and the feeling of it existing.

"And to be able to shoot it as just a 'oner' - as just one long take - was really exciting to me. Again, it was a challenge technically, but to do that whole journey in a couple of minutes in that world and going through all of those fights was incredibly exhilarating and immersive.

"And the idea that hopefully if we get this right it will look quite different to most other fight scenes that people are used to in modern-day cinema because there are often a lot of cuts, a lot of different angles. And the fact that there are zero cuts here, it's just one long shot, will hopefully be quite exciting for the audience."

Advertisement

JOE also chatted to the movie's director and co-writer Robert Eggers - who previously directed The Witch and The Lighthouse - and he also discussed the origins of the scene:

"[The spear catch and re-throw] is from a saga. I read it in a saga and I thought 'Well that is cool as hell and I wanna see that in a movie!' And that's it! That's how it came about. I read it and I put it in, and that goes for virtually the whole movie!"

The Northman is out in the UK now, so go watch it and see that scene for yourself. You can also check out our full interview with Robert Eggers right here:

Related links

Advertisement