Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pioneer (2013)

I hate it when they  announce that a film is going to be remade before it even hits local cinemas. Its the sort of thing that both gets your hopes up and makes you wonder why are they bothering since in the US most people will wait until the George Clooney version comes out. On the other hand  seeing it now allows you to see a very good little thriller that deserves to be seen on its own terms.

Set in the 1970's  right after gas and oil was discovered in the North Sea PIONEER tells the story of what happened when the the various governments and oil companies raced to figure out how to create a pipeline along the sea floor to get the natural resources to market.  Based on actual events but recrafted as a thriller, the film tells the story of two brothers who are part of the teat dive team. When a tragic accident happens one of the brothers decides to find out what really happened after he is given non-answers by everyone involved.

Director Erik Skjoldbj√¶rg who is probably best known for the original INSOMNIA, has fashioned a gripping tale of corruption and greed that is still playing out. Petter, our hero, is trying to figure out what happened not only at the bottom of the sea but also in training exercises where he and the other divers began to hallucinate. The injuries to divers like Petter are very real and still affecting people. George Clooney's interest in remaking PIONEER comes not only from his desire to tell a good story but also get help for the surviving divers and their families.

While the film isn't filled with car chases and shoot outs the film is full of suspense. What is going on and why isn't anyone willing to talk? While the higher ups and people with dirty hands are willing to try and stop Petter it's never completely clear how far they'll go to stop him- especially since they need him as a high profile diver, the question is is that enough to keep him safe?

I'm not telling.

I will say that this is a great ride. This is a nifty little thriller that is perfect for curling up with with a large bucket of popcorn and a beverage of choice. The cast is first rate with the handful of American actors (Stephen Lang and Wes Bentley) blending in seamlessly with their Norwegian counterparts. The film is also full of haunting images with some of the under sea shots and the films final images being the sort of things that burn their way into your brain.

This is a super little film that is the perfect antidote for all of the big Hollywood sturm und drang that is being unleashed upon us during the holiday season. This is one you'll want to search out because it's not your typical clap trap.

Magnolia is releasing the film to I-Tunes, VOD platforms and theaters  Friday.

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