Thor Heyerdahl and his friends leaving from Peru on their expedition to find Polynesian islands

Kon-Tiki [2012]

After I finished watching this phenomenal adventure movie, I immediately wanted to watch something similar, fully aware that my travels around the world were not feasible in the foreseeable future. And as I was scrolling through the bounty of options that the internets has presented to me, I realized that there are no more movies like this one. Sure, I could re-watch Lawrence of Arabia, sinking deeper into my simulated robot brain (The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts…), but I hankering for something sea-bound. I will list a couple of recommendations in general after the review, but for now, let’s dive into Kon-Tiki. Based on an amazing true story about Thor Heyerdahl and his now-legendary Kon-Tiki expedition of 1947. This is the most expensive Norwegian movie to date and you feel that in every scene, although most of them are at sea, the production and post-production were just perfect. Saturated colors, crisp focus and very engaging camera-work will take you on a journey across the Pacific like you were part of the expedition. And in case you were wondering, yes, the scenes with the boat were actually shot at open sea and not in some studio. You simply feel the dedication and effort of everyone involved in this project, for fuck’s sake, the film’s producer, Jeremy Thomas, had wanted to make the film since 1996 and was granted the rights to the story by Thor Heyerdahl before the latter’s death in 2002. Granted, they have taken some liberties when it comes to certain characters, but this was necessary to create the atmosphere and push the story forward.

Kon Tiki 2012 Movie Poster International version

Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian adventurer and explorer, after living for quite some time on the Polynesian islands, proposed a theory that they were settled by people from South America much earlier than it was thought at the moment. The very notion that the Easter Islands were settled by migrants coming from Peru on wooden rafts was seen as preposterous by the scientific community. However, Thor firmly decided to prove his theory by any means necessary and if that meant to take the proposed voyage across the Pacific, then so be it…

With this whole thing happening just two years after the end of the second world war, you feel that so many things aligned that it’s like they were destined for this expedition. Something to lift the humanities spirits after a brutal and exhausting war and to prove that there are still things that we can do in a style of great adventurers of the past. However, Kon-Tiki is not just a movie about a single event, but more of a biopic about Thor and his work. His dealings with the scientific community, investors and other individuals are filled with great concepts worth pondering. They remind us that things are not always what they seem and that we take too many things for granted. With a very vibrant and lively atmosphere that never got too intense but remained very engaging, Kon-Tiki is an experience that you need to have. A definition of a feel-good movie that will inspire you to go out there and actually do something. And I loved how they have not succumbed to the temptations of pumped-up scenes that you see in Hollywood movies with a similar theme, or to be more precise style over substance. In the end, here are a couple of recommendations if you’re looking to continue your adventures in a similar vibe: Jungle[2017], Arctic[2018], The Lost City of Z[2016], Apocalypto[2006], Into the Wild[2007] and Master and Commander[2003].

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg

Writer: Petter Skavlan

Cast: Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, Gustaf Skarsgård, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Jakob Oftebro, Agnes Kittelsen


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