A Guide to Alexander Skarsgård Playing Bad Men


Spoiler for The man from the north

Our first stop will be Mr. Skarsgård’s most recent appearance on the big screen, as Amleth in Robert Eggers’ new bloody Viking revenge epic. And now, you might say, Matthew, Alexander is playing the hero in this movie. He is after all basically Hamlet and Hamlet is the good guy who avenges his father! (Well, brief side tangent here: Shakespeare’s play was actually based on an old Scandinavian character called Amleth, so it was elder Billy Shakes doing the letter shuffling. Eggers’ film isn’t, however only loosely based on either version as both and Hamlet are much smarter and less beefy in their versions, but I digress).

But Mr. Amleth (if I may be so bold) is truly a terrible human. After his father (who seemed to mostly war and fart) is murdered by his uncle, Amleth eventually becomes a mercenary who kills randos while imbued with a wolf spirit (not the last time that you will see it on this tour). He has no extracurricular activities other than killing and stalking his uncle. He doesn’t care about collateral damage. And he never does the therapeutic work of getting over his father’s death and finding happiness as a fisherman or whatever one does in ancient Iceland. When his mother (Nicole Kidman) tells him that she wanted her husband dead and that she is happier with the uncle who loves farming, Amleth kills his mother and her new kid. When given the opportunity to run away with his sexy young partner (Anya Taylor-Joy), he chooses instead to go fight his naked uncle in a volcano. His reasoning is that the uncle will find them and kill them all. But, Amleth, let’s be real now. It’s like 600 AD. They did not locate my friends. Move to a random farm in Finland, raise your twins, and you’ll be fine.

Being determined to get revenge is not cute. This is called toxic masculinity. Go see Björk’s wizard, who I guess is the medieval equivalent of Better Help, and let’s move past this parenting trauma. Even when Alex plays a good guy, he really is a bad guy. (But maybe the true the villain is the one who decided to cast Skarsgård [45] like poor Nicole Kidman [54] son only a few years after playing his wife. Yeah.)

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