Skip to main content

Pioneer

2014
Directed by Erik Skojolbjaerg
Starring Wes Bentley Stephen Lang and Aksel Hennie

Set in the early 1980's Pioneer tells the story of a deep sea diver. In looking over a list of films that focus on deep sea diving one thing became almost instantly clear, there have not been a great number of quality films made about deep sea divers. I found this surprising considering the claustrophobic nature of diving and inherent beauty of the ocean lends itself wonderfully to film. To make a thriller in this setting would be a challenge but after seeing this film I can say that it was a challenge worth taking. 

Its clear that Skojolbjaerg has been influenced by the better films of the 70's. With his first film Insomnia you could see that he loved character driven thrillers and Pioneer is no different. Not that this is a rehashing of his break out film but a return to the genre work that made him a director to watch. With films like Headhunters, Kon Tiki and Olso August 31st Norway has become quite the exporter of high quality films.  

This is an uncomfortable, claustrophobic journey filled with paranoia, a conspiracy thriller set right in the middle of the Norwegian oil boom. Apparently this film is based on real events and it certainly feels grounded in that way. Being the uneducated American that I am, I was unfamiliar with this story but I plan on looking into it after seeing the the film. My curiosity has been peeked.

The look of the film is dark and menacing. While most films choose to to emphasize the natural beauty of the ocean Pioneer has no time for such comforting imagery. That's not to say the film isn't well composed or designed because every frame is compelling. This is not a fantastical, escapist, roller coaster but its every bit as trilling as one. I've noticed a nice trend, one that has been slowly creeping up with the advent of VOD, smaller, more adult oriented films are coming out with more frequency and finding an audience.

If you like films that earn their tension through character and setting without relying on jump scares give this one a shot. 
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Internet Trolls and Critics in the Age of Rotten Tomatoes - A Look at the Critical Response to GOTTI

Hate, intolerance, and cruelty are the most valued currencies in the digital age. Online publications deal in the same eye-catching tabloid headlines that were once exclusive to rags like WEEKLY WORLD NEWS and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. The monetization of clicks is ruining many forms of journalism and film criticism is just one of them. When organizations can see what headlines are generating revenue its only natural that sensationalism would start to rise. There is no consorted hivemind like conspiracy to destroy certain films but rather internet activity that has boosted a certain type of writer. From the outside, online film critics share quite a bit with their Twitter troll counterparts.

The critical response to John Travolta's passion project Gotti has been less than favorable, in fact, it has been downright abysmal. A project over ten years in the making, Travolta has poured his heart and soul into this venture. And many writers seem to take pleasure in the film's failure.

I…

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

NO ALTERNATIVE review

Depression is often marked by sadness, despair, and hopelessness. The sense that things will not get better is something most of us pass through at different points in our lives. But depression is something more than that. It’s not just a temporary feeling, it’s a debilitating emotional state that you can’t simply pull yourself out of. The angry outbursts, irritability, and frustration that come along with depression can isolate individuals suffering from this condition and push them deeper into their own thoughts. Everyone needs to be heard and sometimes those who can’t express themselves in traditional forms find their voice in art.
Edvard Munch wrestled with agoraphobia and frequently had hallucinations, one of which inspired THE SCREAM, a painting so iconic that even the most casual art enthusiast is familiar with the piece.  Sylvia Plath took a more direct approach with THE BELL JAR and laid out the details of her depression with brutal honesty. Briana Dickerson a white suburba…