It’s unlikely that any of its four opponents end up taking the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film from Michael Haneke‘s Amour, as a certain Twitter account will be quick to remind you. That certainly doesn’t drain any of those movies, quality-wise, however. Nor are they exempt from attention that extends past small groups of film critics: one of the more buzzed-about entries, for instance, is Kon-Tiki, the story of a very different hero named Thor.
The picture, in all seriousness, is based on the true story of Thor Heyerdahl, an ethnographer who wished to demonstrate diffusionist anthropology theories by sailing from Peru to the Polynesian islands (over 4,000 miles) on a small raft. Judging by a preview, the depiction from Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg could be schizophrenic: the first half would appear to be just another overcoming-the-odds drama, but the portions set at sea — which I imagine will comprise much of Kon-Tiki as a whole — are a real thrill. Whales! Sharks! Waves! It’s like Life of Pi, but, with some luck, sans all the hokum.
Update: Check out the domestic theatrical trailer below.
In 1947, the world is gripped with excitement as the young Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl embarks on an astonishing expedition – a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean on the Kon-Tiki raft. From his days living in the Marquesas with his wife Liv, Thor suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by ancient South Americans from thousands of miles to the east. Despite his inability to swim and fear of water, Thor decides to prove his theory by sailing the legendary voyage himself. After replicating the design of an ancient raft in balsa wood, Thor and five fellow adventurers set sail from Peru. Their only modern equipment is a radio, and they take a parrot along for company. A natural leader, Thor uses the stars and the ocean’s current to navigate the raft. After three dangerous months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, sharks, and all the dangers the Ocean can muster, the exhausted crew sight Polynesia and make a triumphant landing. Having sacrificed everything for his mission, even his marriage, the success of the Kon-Tiki expedition proves bittersweet for Thor.
Kon-Tiki will open in limited release on April 19.
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