Review of "Pioneer (DVD)"

published 28/01/2016 | Ailran
Member since : 07/09/2004
Reviews : 345
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About me :
I like a challenge... so will the end of this year and next (2016) see me return with a 'Around the world in 80 Films' attempt? (Actually can I even find 80 countries I can watch and review films from!)
Pro Good solid thriller, great cast and acting
Cons Not great, nothing exceptional about it
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"Political conspiracy..... or accident?"

Norway, the 1980’s, and enormous oil and gas deposits have been discovered off the coast off Norway. Building the rigs is to drill for it is possible but the pipelines to get it from those rigs to the Norwegian cost is much more of a problem. Divers cannot go down that deep and the pipes need to be put together on location, at the bottom of the sea.
With American help, money and research a number of divers are being tested under enormous pressure (both mental and physical) to see if different blends of gas could enable them to survive long enough to work on the much needed pipeline.

The Norwegians insist on Norwegian divers (Petter and Leif, two brothers) but the Americans have one of their men involved as well (Mike played by Wes Bentley), a man who seems annoyed that he will likely not be the one to actually dive due to politics.

Petter is determined to be the man who reaches the bottom of the Norwegian Sea but a tragic accident leads him to wonder about the real aims of the American company and conspiracy theories start running through his mind.

Pioneer is a good thriller, it keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through. You don’t really have any idea of where it is going to go, though you will no doubt have many a theory as you watch it. It is very reminiscent of the ‘Nordic Noir’ TV shows like The Bridge in its tone and look.
It has that Norwegian murkiness that seems to be permanently in their skies (which is partly true, when the sun is out there it is lovely but if it isn’t or dusk is approaching it really does look like that!) and that also really suits dark, mysterious detective, mystery or thriller stories.

Pioneer is a thriller, I don’t know what else you could call it, but it is as much a drama, a story about brothers and of obsession. Petter, probably the most unlikely leading man ever, is a balding, middle aged man who is not a hero. He is just a man who wants to know what happened, what caused the horrible accident he was involved in. Problem is there seems to be a lot of people who are just as determined to hide the truth, from him and the authorities.

Conspiracies seem to be around every corner, every character seems to have some secret that connects to the main story and you soon get that feeling that Petter must have as well… one of complete paranoia!

Pioneer is certainly worth watching but it doesn’t quite manage to reach great. I really did enjoy this but I didn’t get totally engrossed in it. I think this is mainly because the actual setting and details about deep sea diving and pipeline creation don’t have any real resonance with me. I don’t get some of the details they are on about (was some of this lost in translation?). I understand ‘The Bends’ and the need to depressurise your body after being down deep but little things either were not explained or I didn’t understand it if they told us. If it wasn’t for this small problem I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more. It has everything I really like in a story.
The underdog fighting for what he believes in, conspiracies abound… whether real or imagined (and that is a big point in Pioneer even with what you are seeing you are still not 100% sure what is the actual truth!), political shenanigans, realistic action (so much so that it seems as if one of the car crashes wasn’t actually intended, the driver just flipped the car and they used the footage!) and some great characters. Wes Bentley as the American diver and Stephen Lang as the head of the American company in Norway are both excellent, but then so are Aksel Hennie (Petter) and Jorgen Langhelle as his brother, Leif.

This is quite a slow paced movie at first, very gradually building up the story and the tension as it rolls leisurely through its running time… at first anyway. At a certain point it hits running speed and, while it never sprints, from then on it keeps moving forward with more purpose.

This is unlikely to be a film I will ever want to watch again but its two hours passed by fairly quickly and I was definitely caught up in trying to work out what actually happened and what was going to happen to Petter. If you like a good, solid, if unexceptional, thriller then this is worth seeing.

Part of Around the World in 80 Films

6: Norway

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Comments on this review

  • duffatron published 16/03/2016
  • missrarr published 27/02/2016
  • Secre published 08/02/2016
    Well reviewed.
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Product Information : Pioneer (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Genre: Thriller

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: 15 years and over

Video Category: Feature Film

Actor(s): Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang, Aksel Hennie

Director(s): Erik Skjoldbjærg

Production Year: 2013

EAN: 5027035011172


Listed on Ciao since: 25/01/2016