Summer 2013 Features series
Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 8:00pm
Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Screenplay by Petter Skavlan and Allan Scott
Starring Pål Sverre Hagen , Anders Baasmo Christiansen, and Gustaf Skarsgård
Rated 14A ·
UK / Norway / Denmark / Germany
Norwegian , English, French, and Swedish
The Norwegian directing team of Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, whose biopic of World War II resistance fighter Max Manus was a huge hit on home turf, has turned to another native hero for Kon-Tiki. This efficiently told action-adventure film portrays one of the most vaunted escapades of the 20th century.
On the 28th of April 1947, with the world media watching, the Norwegian anthropologist and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Max Manus), leaves his wife (Agnes Kittelsen, Max Manus) and children behind to cross the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft called Kon-Tiki. Together with five inexperienced crew members, he sets out on a 4,300 mile journey from Peru to Polynesia to prove that the Polynesian islands were settled not by people from Asia, as was believed at the time, but by South Americans, crossing the Pacific from the east. Except for a simple radio, the expedition only uses navigational methods available to pre-Columbian Incas, relying on the stars, prevailing currents and wind-power. Once aboard the Kon-Tiki, the crew is beset by omnipresent sharks, storms and the slowly mounting realization that the hemp lashings holding the boat together are loosening by the day.
“Rich with character and heavy with ocean-based peril, Kon-Tiki is unexpectedly exciting and refreshingly human, retaining a searing sting of heartache and doubt as it manufactures eye-popping moments of near-death experiences and the strange tranquility of total isolation. It’s a gripping story sold with a gorgeously mounted feature that remains as expansive as history recalls and intimate as cinema allows.” (Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com)
“This is filmmaking of great ambition and ability, though it’s not always conducive to solid storytelling. The film’s technical aspects are uniformly excellent, however, and the pic rarely loses momentum despite a two-hour running time. Locations in Norway, Bulgaria, the Maldives, Thailand and Malta are gorgeously shot, and special credit should go to sound designers Baard Haugan Ingebretsen and Tormod Ringnes, who manage to keep the creaking sounds of the boat slowly coming unraveled eerily present, though never obtrusive.” (Andrew Barker, Variety)