Film Review – Kon-Tiki (2012)


Title – Kon-Tiki (2012)

Directors  – Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Bandidas)

Cast – Pal Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Jakob Oftebro, Agnes Kittelsen

Plot – Kon-Tiki tells the true life story of famous Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdal’s (Hagen) and his crews epic 1947 journey across the ocean on a balsa wood hand built raft to prove that it was indeed true that South Americans could make it to Polynesia in the pre-Columbian era. Kon-Tiki charts not only the hardships at sea faced by Thor but also the struggle to find support for his theory back on land and the struggle to keep the love of his life (Kittelsen) as he journeys far from home.

“And only a hundred days to go.”

Review by Eddie on 9/09/2013

It’s refreshing to see an almost completely old fashioned true life adventure tale after enduring so many overwrought and misjudged true life tales over recent years. Kon-Tiki is a well-made and fascinating look at the journey of Thor Heyerdal and his crew which goes along at a pace that never drags and filmed in a way that gives the movie a real sense of identity.

Nominated at this year’s Oscar ceremony for Best Foreign Language Film (despite being almost entirely in English) Kon-Tiki features many a good performance from it’s almost exclusively male cast and some fantastic individual directing sequences as overseen by co-directors Ronning and Sandberg (who on the strength of this film got the job of directing the next entry into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) Kon-Tiki would have been a very easy film to get wrong, to much cinematic overplaying could of taken away from what the explorers did and to much syrup in the script could of made it feel somewhat unreal but thanks to Ronning and Sandberg’s deft hands this is never the case.

Thor Heyerdal was a no doubt larger than life figure a man completely driven by his goals to the exclusion of all else and others and Hagen does a fine job of portraying the man without ever really owning the film. In the sense of a Hollywood picture it would have been a star vehicle for an A lister to prove he can grow a mean beard (which trust me make an appearance in abundance here) and shout a lot so we should be thankful Thor never becomes larger than the film. In regards to the supporting cast both Christiansen as average man Herman and Oftebro as sailor Torstein deserve some kudos for the roles.

It would be hard to not get swept up by the ocean of adventure that Kon-Tiki offers up. Kon- Tiki features scenes that are up there with some of the best of the year which will remain with the viewer, particularly a stand out zoom in and zoom out of the ocean through to the vast universe. Sit back, enjoy and go along with Kon-Tiki’s fine swell and you’re sure to have a journey through history that will prove both inspiring and enjoyable in equal measure. I for one am looking forward to watching the 1951 Academy Award winning documentary of the journey when I can to get more time with this history defining voyage and its crew.

4 sea beards out of 5

13 responses to “Film Review – Kon-Tiki (2012)

  1. I really enjoyed this film too. I’m still amazed that the Weinstein Company had the director re-shoot the entire movie, scene-for-scene, in English! (Also, kudos for rating this in sea beards.)

  2. Thanks, Eddie. Kon-Tiki was one of my absolute favorite books as a kid, so I was really excited to see it coming on film. I still haven’t seen it though, so I’m glad to see that it sailed well with you guys. Now you’ve got me salivating, and I know now it’s a steak and not a sweaty shirt. (Was that in the movie?) Thanks and maybe I’ll write it up too once I finally get my shark teeth into it. Best.

  3. really enjoyed this film, especially being of a younger generation and not having been familiar with the real expedition itself it was a pleasant surprise to come across!

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