Pioneer (2013) -DVD

July 26th, 2014
Author: Meredith Taylor

2001408_Pioner_still_1189-240912-PIONER-FrilandFilm-Foto-ErikAavatsmark_nor_print copyDirector: Erik Skoldbjaerg

Writer: Nikolaj Frobenius and others

Cast: Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang, Aksel Hennie, Jonathan LaPaglia, Jorgen Langhelle, Andre Eriksen

111 min  Thriller  Norway

Erik Skoldbjaerg – best known for Insomnia (1997) delves back into Norwegian history here with a tense thriller that accurately reflects the gritty social realism of the seventies oil scene. Based on a conspiracy theory of sorts surrounding the American research projects that part-funded Norwegian upstream crude oil pipelines back in 1981, the action centres around three diving engineers working under pressure (both time-wise and in a tank) to prepare for construction to begin. They are brothers Petter (Aksel Hennie), Knut (Andre Eriksen) and colleague Jorgen (David Jorgensen). Tragically one of them will not emerge to tell the tale and the land-based team deny any responsibility on their part, implicating Jorgen who (conveniently) has a history of seizures. It is left to Petter to investigate his brother’s death and support the family while in a state of deep mourning. What emerges from his findings is that Jorgen’s illness stems from faulty gas supplies provided by (none other than) the Americans, but can he prove this? In a masterful and gripping performance, Aksel Hennie pits his wits against the weight of pressure from the American team and the slightly stiff handling of the narrative. At times confusingly teetering between Petter’s understandable mental instability and his increasingly distorted view of events. Pioneer cleverly explores the political conspiracy theory at work in this dour and suspenseful thriller that takes it time to convince but manages to surface in the end. MT


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