Based on the true story of Thor Heydal (Pål Sverre Hagen) and his epic Adventure across the Pacific Ocean in 1947, Kon-Tiki recounts his daring Quest to prove the Theory that South Americans could have in fact been able to cross the Waters pre-Columbus, settling in Polynesia. Leaving behind his Wife Liv (Agnes Kittelsen) and two Sons almost without notice, he enlists a Team of five Men to build a Wood Raft, travelling only with materials that could technologically have been available at that time. Together, under Thor‘s guidance, they head off on anaquatic Conquest… and there may be a few Sharks along the way. Despite numerous safety concerns, Thor is uncompromising in his integrity, leaving no room to doubt in proving his Theory. Along the way, we fear for the lives of these six Men, risking thit all in the name of what could possibly be the Truth.
This Oscar-nominated Norwegian English-language Adventure finally will be seen in these parts and it certianly does not disappoint. Coincidentally, it shares some similar themes to eventual Oscar-winning Life of Pi, hence perhaps a slight pause in release works in Kon-Tiki’s favour. Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg masterfully concoct a feeling of a perpetual danger as these Men charter the Waters and I admit at points, the suspense becomes unbearable even. Geir Hartly Andreassen‘s exquisite Cinematography depicts Man as a part of our Planet ecologically. It is a Portrait of Man versus his Environment, perhaps at times his greatest Enemy. Interestingly though, amidst the intensity is a beautiful feeling of serenity.
Odd Magnus Williamson as Refrigerator Salesman-turned-Second-in-Command to Thor, Herman Watzinger, voices our insecurities as Onlookers in this Great Expedition – a fine performance from the Norwegian equivalent to Philip Seymour Hoffman, if you will. Hagen is a commanding presence, enabling us to feel a sense of real connection, aligning us with Thor‘s desire to succeed despite what appears at first to be an impossible task. A Wood Raft across the Pacific? Are you kidding me? Johan Söderqvist‘s Original Score is elegant, never distracting from the acquatic feast that is before our eyes.
Kon-Tiki is an unforgettable Adventure and important History Lesson at once. eOne Films releases in Toronto on May 3, 2013, Vancouver & Montreal on May 10, 2013 and Ottawa on May 17, 2013.