Saturday, September 5, 2015

A real life action-adventure

Pål Sverre Hagen is Thor Heyerdahl in "Kon-Tiki," about the explorer´s journey to the South Pacific.
Pål Sverre Hagen is Thor Heyerdahl in "Kon-Tiki," about the explorer's journey to the South Pacific. CARL CHRISTIAN RAABE / The Weinstein Company
About the movie
MPAA rating:
for a disturbing violent sequence
Running time:
Release date:
Tobias Santelmann; Odd-Magnus Williamson; Agnes Kittelsen; Gustaf Skarsgård; Pål Sverre Hagen; Anders Baasmo Christiansen; Jakob Oftebro
Directed by:
Espen Sandberg; Joachim Rønning
On the web:
Kon-Tiki Official Site

If you're a wee tyke growing up in 1920s Norway, ice-fishing and snowshoeing to your heart's content, chances are you've never learned to swim.

Which is why Thor Heyerdahl, now a restless soul of 33, was determined not to fall off of his balsawood raft - bobbing on the Pacific somewhere between Peru and Polynesia. In Kon-Tiki, a stirring and cinematic dramatization of the famed voyage taken by the Norse adventurer, the mighty Thor demonstrates what snooty ethnographers and National Geographic editors of his day refused to believe - that it was possible for pre-Columbians in South America to climb atop large, tethered logs, push off from shore and make for the islands and atolls of the South Pacific, some 4,700 nautical miles to the west.

No one believed it, but Heyerdahl (played with Aryan ardor by Pål Sverre Hagen) knew it to be true. And so, in 1947, accompanied by five able-bodied gents (a couple of experienced sailors, an engineer, a scientist, someone handy with a radio) and a pet parrot, the explorer leaves port to prove that some 1,500 years earlier, Peruvian natives took the same trip.

Those Easter Island statues? Suspiciously Inca, don't you think?

Directed by Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, Kon-Tiki is a widescreen man-against-nature epic, beautifully shot and boasting seamless, stunning visual effects. The Kon-Tiki (named after the Inca sun god) gets tossed and turned by frightening storms, and poked and prodded by giant sharks. As the days roll by, supplies run low and the balsa begins to rot in the saltwater. Fear creeps in. But thanks to a bestselling book and an Oscar-winning documentary, most of the world already knows how things turn out.

Shot in both English and Norwegian versions (the latter was a best foreign language Oscar nominee), Kon-Tiki is a movie-making triumph about a man who triumphs over the elements, over academe, and over his own doubts and dread.

Not a bad trip.


Kon-Tiki *** (Out of four stars)

Directed by Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg. With Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen and Gustaf Skarsgård. Distributed by The Weinstein Company.

Running time: 1 hour, 41 mins.

Parent's guide: PG-13 (violence, adult themes)

Playing at: Ritz Five

Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or, or follow on Twitter @Steven_Rea. Read his blog, On Movies Online, at


Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter