The American filmmaker Robert Eggers has had quite the career. His 2015 debut feature, The Witch, followed a group of New England pilgrims as they are harangued (and worse) by a mystical force in the nearby forest.
Then, he went full-on madballs with the Beckettian absurdo-horror, The Lighthouse, in which Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe bicker (and worse) as the keepers of a storm-lashed lighthouse. At that point we pondered: where could Eggers go next? Maybe double down on his love of historical esoterica? Or maybe level up with something tooled for a bigger audience.
The answer we got is that he did both: The Northman is an intricately-designed revenge epic concerning the must-win mission of a Viking princling-turned-berserker who vows to avenge the murder of his beloved father. It’s a film that will finally send actor Alexander Skarsgård into the stratosphere, as it charts his Hamlet-esque descent into a raging marauder whose desire to commit symbolic murder cannot be quenched by any other means.
Not only is this issue a celebration of Eggers and his stellar work inside the Hollywood system, but we also look at the concept of originality when it comes to cinematic storytelling and art in general. In this world of prequels, sequels, franchise-extensions and reboots, is there still room for movies that don’t come with their own existing IP fanbase? This is an issue dedicated to all the artists who sing by his or her own hymn sheet.
Also we were thrilled to invite Brooklyn-based artist Colin Verdi to illustrate our cover, and his digital work drew inspiration from real artifacts found in the National Museum of Iceland.