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Kon-Tiki

Critics' choice

This fictionalised retelling of the Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 Pacific crossing ought to come with a ‘Jackass’-style warning: don’t try this at home kids. In the 1940s, Heyerdahl (played by Pål Sverre Hagen with blue-eyed intensity and a winning way with man-accessories, see right ) became obsessed with the theory that Polynesians originated not from Asia but South America.

To prove it, he recreated what he believed to be their 5,000 mile journey in a raft he built himself, the Kon-Tiki (named after a sun god).
When the six-man crew casts off in buttoned-down white shirts and sturdy resolve, you might be put in mind of a Duran Duran video, but give the movie some time: the excitement grows as steadily as the sailors’ beards. The radio shorts out, sharks swirl menacingly and waves churn spirits and stomachs.

‘Kon-Tiki’ is Boys’ Own adventure to an extreme degree and its message is sometimes clouded by sentiment. But mainly, we’re told to follow our heads and our sextants: a good thing to hear on occasion.

Release details

Release date: Friday December 19 2014
Duration: 111 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Espen Sandberg, Joachim Rønning
Cast: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen
Anders Baasmo Christiansen
Gustaf Skarsgard

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