Liz’s Review: ‘PIONEER’ is a thriller based on true events.

PioneerposterSometimes reality is stranger than fiction. In Magnolia Pictures new release, PIONEER, we find a story based on true events that is both disturbing and heart-pounding. The film is based upon the scientific and political race to get a group of deep sea divers to 500 meters; a feet never even attempted prior. An American Team and a Norwegian team train side by side and the best men win, or so they think. Petter (Aksel Hennie) and his brother are part of the Norwegian team chosen to pursue the dive which would ultimately allow Norway to build an oil pipeline. After a tragedy during their first real attempt to dive, Petter is thrust into a conspiracy so deep, it is astounding to think that any of this actually happened. Though, if you know anything about international politics, you might think twice.


The film takes place in the 70’s and there is no mistaking it based upon the muted colors used throughout. The handheld camera work and incredible story line keeps you off balance and constantly guessing. You will sit up and pay attention throughout. The score and sound editing in general are key to sustaining the suspense factor. It is somehow jarring and entrancing, ramping up the paranoia factor to the nth degree. The underwater shots are stunning especially the use of POV cinematography. The consuming feeling of both wonder and claustrophobia is overwhelming.


Aksel Hennie is captivating. He has a passionate ambition that resonates from the very beginning. He might not be someone you would peg as an action star archetype but what this actor endures is something to be applauded and recognized for future roles. I want to see more of Aksel Hennie.


PIONEER will keep you on your toes. Is it a cover up? Did this really happen? If the real story anything like the film, it’s terrifying.

Opening December 5, 2014
Toronto International Film Festival 2013 (Official Selection)
Winner – 2014 Amanda Awards, Norway – Best Actor for Askel Hennie
Winner – 2014 Amanda Awards, Norway  – Best Production Design

DIRECTED BY: Erik Skoldbjærg (Insomnia, Prozac Nation)
STARRING: Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games, Interstellar), Aksel Hennie (Headhunters, Max Manus, Hercules), Stephen Lang (Avatar) & Stephanie Sigman (Miss Bala, FX’s The Bridge)
George Clooney & Grant Heslov to produce an upcoming remake of the film*
PIONEER opens in Los Angeles and New York and on VOD and iTunes December 5 followed by a national rollout.
Inspired by real events, PIONEER’s story starts in the 1970s at the beginning of the Norwegian Oil Boom. Enormous oil and gas deposits are discovered in the North Sea and authorities aim to bring the oil ashore through a pipeline over 1600 feet deep. Petter (Hennie), a professional diver, is obsessed with reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea. Along with his brother Knut (Eriksen), he has the discipline, strength and courage to take on one of the world’s most dangerous missions but a sudden, tragic accident changes everything. Petter is sent on a perilous journey where he loses sight of who is pulling the strings. Gradually, he realizes that he is in way over his head and that his life is at stake.
Running Time: 100 minutes
Language: English, Norwegian (w/English subtitiles)
Rating: R for Language

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

One Reply to “Liz’s Review: ‘PIONEER’ is a thriller based on true events.”

  1. Pingback: 3 New Movies You Can Rent Tonight – 3.10.15 | Reel News Daily

Leave a Reply