Movie Reviews

Review: Pioneer

Genre: Thriller Directed by: Erik Skjoldbjærg

Genre: Thriller 
Directed by: Erik Skjoldbjaerg
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang
Written by: Nikolaj Frobenius, Hans Gunnarsson, Cathinka Nicolaysen, Kathrine Valen


Synopsis: A thriller set at the beginning of the 1980’s Norwegian Oil Boom and centered on a diver whose obsession with reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea leads to tragedy. (c) Imdb


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Inspired by true events, the movie is set in early 1980’s during the start of the Norwegian Oil Boom. American and Norwegian divers are brought together to dive to the bottom of the North Sea, where large amounts of oil and gas deposits are resting. The story revolves around expert diver Petter, whose life is thrown into turmoil when a death of fellow diver. The apparent cover up of the death sets Petter on a path to discover the truth and prove his innocence.


Pioneer is an extremely slow-paced film. The story set-up is takes place much too long to hold the viewers attention. Aside from the glacial pace, the film never establishes a true identity. The male focus of the film centers on Petter and his quest to find the truth behind the death of his brother who dies during one of the dives. Initially the blame is placed on Petter committing a mistake that leads to the incident. The confusion lies in distinguishing whether Petter is trying to clear his name, avenger his brothers death, or exposed a potential corruption of the authorities behind the mission. That’s where the story loses focus. Petter’s intentions aren’t always clear, and he seems way over his head.


Who knew they plant flags in the bottom of the sea

Who knew they plant flags in the bottom of the sea


The cast is comprised with a mixture of Norwegian actors and recognizable American talent including Wes Bentley and Stephen Lang. The lead actor in the is Aksel Hennie who plays Petter. Hennie does a solid job, and is especially good in the claustrophobic deep sea diving scenes. Surprisingly Wes Bentley doesn’t appear much in the film. Bentley’s supporting role can be mistaken for a cameo. Director Erik Skjoldbjaerg could have made much better use of a talent like Bentley.


Overall, Pioneer is a snail paced film that doesn’t endear itself to an American viewer. The only non-Norwegian dialogue that isn’t subtitled comes from the likes of Bentley and Lang. It holds firm to its Norwegian origins. Skjoldbjaerg does a commendable job taking you on a visual voyage to the innermost bottom of the sea. The story is fairly original and unknown, so it’s refreshing to see something that most aren’t aware of being brought to the big screen. Unfortunately the drawn out pacing makes it difficult to follow. I lost interest before the hour mark arrived. The climax is fairly ant-climactic. The film tries to build suspense and drama, but it falls short on most occasions.


Pioneer – 4 out of 10!

Too slow

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