A seemingly impossible dream realised by a determined man, Kon-Tiki tells the story of noted explorer Thor Heyerdal’s epic journey across the pacific on a Balsa wood raft. Both the performances and pace of this film make for an exciting and captivating watch. From the islands to the streets of New York, Peruvian coast lines and back to the beach again, this film rarely has a dull moment. Based on the true story and 1951 Oscar-winning documentary, Kon-Tiki doesn’t just show us the journey, it takes us along for the ride.
With the majority of screen time dedicated to Heyerdal, Pål Sverre Hagen tackles the job very well, purveying a sense of urgency, fear and determination throughout. The struggle of the journey is never lost on him, and allows the audience to feel every one of his emotions. His shipmates include the usual characters one might expect: the joker, the coward, the one who forms a doomed attachment to a bird. All these performances are sound, but Anders Baasmo Christiansen shines within the cast.
Isolation isn’t a large element of this film, as is usually the way with depictions of long journeys, and the film tends to focus on the more exciting shark attacks and whale sightings rather than the day-to-day. This in some ways diminishes the outcome, as most emphasis is placed in the very beginning of the journey. The use of CGI is slight and effective, but what is most remarkable throughout the film is the scenery. Whether on land or at sea, you’re never far from a stunning shot.
As a depiction of real events, this film more than serves its purpose. Both enthralling and terrifying, directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg utilise their rich subject matter and dazzling setting to create a truly gripping movie. But it feel, though, as though Kon-Tiki shies away from getting to the core of Thor Heyerdal. This is understandable due to the sheer amount of action already included, but with all the excitement and struggles, there is a human aspect missing. Nonetheless, Kon-Tiki is definitely worth a watch.
Kon-Tiki is released nationwide on 19th December 2014.
Watch the trailer for Kon-Tiki here: