Thursday, February 28, 2013

Short Cut Movie Review: Kon-Tiki

Short Cut Movie Review is normally less than 400 words, but in some cases may go slightly over. This is my attempt to keep writing about as many films as I see without getting bogged down with trying to find more to say. They are meant to be brief snapshots of my reaction to a movie without too much depth.

This is what happens when foreign filmmakers try to replicate big Hollywood storytelling, but fall just a tad short. Yes, this is the most expensive movie in Norwegian history, but its budget still pales in comparison to the studios. Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg try their hand at epic adventure filmmaking. The calculation worked because the Academy fell for it and nominated it for the Oscar.

The true story of a Norse adventurer who set out to drift across the Pacific on a balsa wood raft is not new to the Oscars, however. The documentary on the subject won the award more than 60 years ago. Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen) wanted to prove (or demonstrate the possibility) that Polynesia was settled by travelers from South America and not, as science at the time believe, from Asia. The problem is that the Incas didn’t have ships. So Heyerdahl enlisted a crew of five, they built a raft using only materials available to the ancient Incans and they set out.

This is a typical story of a man with singleness of purpose, so driven that he loses his family in the process. You might be fooled by the Norwegian dialogue into thinking you’re watching a great movie. It looks good and all, but it’s really mediocre. I was put off by some early scenes of stilted pretension and poor writing. If this movie were in English hardly anyone would give it a second thought.

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