ReviewWriter: Casey LeeWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Life of Pi" and "Max Manus: Man of War".
"Kon-Tiki" is the dramatic retelling of the legendary 1947 expedition led by Thor Heyerdahl, who practically just floated from the South Americas to Polynesia on a balsa raft over a distance of nearly 5,000 miles, in order to prove his theory that Polynesia was settled by ancient Peruvians, instead of Asians, which was the common belief at the time. The historic expedition not only became one of the first expeditions to inspire a new generation of explorers since World War II, but the documentary of it (that was made by Heyerdahl and his crew while on the expedition) won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 1951.
To tell such an audacious story of braving against the elements and throwing their fate to the winds requires an ambitious technical level to pull it off, and Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg do not fail in that department. We might not think much when seeing the crew meet breathtakingly enormous whales, finding luminous jellyfishes, or handling a crisis with sharks at first, until the realisation dawns on you on how they could find such cooperative sea creatures, is testament to the mesmerising lifelike effects that were created from a country not somewhere you would associate with rendering powerhouses. It is, on a visual level, very reminiscent of the marvelous spectacle that was seen in "Life of Pi".
While it is easy to be amazed by the artificial tidal waves or sink in to Johan Söderqvist's subtle score, "Kon-Tiki" washes up a little empty on the human drama, given the events it is based on. Although there were signs of cracks between the bond of the men when the expedition was taking the wrong turns and the burgeoning effects of mild hysteria and cabin fever were evidently surfacing, the gravity of the situation couldn't be conveyed by the less abled cast. At times when you'd expect furious burst of rage or crumbling despair of hopelessness, the cast softens it to mild tantrums and whiny frustrations that lose much of the dramatic energy to be fearful for the crew, unless all that inner turmoil were transformed into their beards.
Still, that doesn't make "Kon-Tiki" a total shipwreck; only a shore not reached that had worked against it when competing with a performance powerhouse like "Amour" for the Best Foreign Language Oscar (but still a resounding success in the European awards circuit). "Kon-Tiki" still rides strongly on the waves of the events it goes out to depict and certainly an eye-opening introduction to what is still one of the greatest feats accomplished by man in search for what's beyond.Cinema Online, 10 December 2013