Kon-Tiki [2012]

Kon-Tiki-0037/10 | 15.Jan.13

DIRECTORS: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg | WRITERS: Petter Skavlan, Allan Scott | CAST: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Gustaf Skarsgård, Odd Magnus Williamson, Tobias Santelmann, Jakob Oftebro, Agnes Kittelsen | Norway

Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen

Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen

I grew up on Thor Heyerdahl and Kon-Tiki — we had the book and I can’t remember ever not already having seen the documentary, and I suppose my father’s Norwegian chauvinism played a part — and if Heyerdahl wasn’t exactly a hero of mine, I thought of him as someone who’d done something brave and consequential that everyone said couldn’t be done. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I began to think of him as something of a crank and self-promoter and of the Kon-Tiki adventure as having no real importance beyond itself, so I was quite pleased to see that the Thor Heyerdahl depicted in the new Kon-Tiki is convincingly human. Kon-Tiki is a thoroughly conventional, old-fashioned, stirring human adventure yarn — down to the triumphant climax with all the main characters grinning, laughing, clasping each others’ hands and hugging while the music soars — and if the movie drags and is frankly boring for long stretches, and if the screenplay and acting are conventional, so be it. Kon-Tiki is handsomely produced, with first rate cinematography and special effects, and I was won over. Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen’s portrayal of Heyerdahl is neatly balanced between enthusiastic boyish swagger and egomaniacal adult crank, and he has also exactly captured Heyerdahl’s idiosyncratic intonation and accent when he spoke in English. And was there ever a more perfect specimen of idealized Nordic male beauty than Jakob Oftebro? (Rhetorical question, of course, but yowzers!)


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