Kon-Tiki TIFF 2012 Review

Posted 11 years ago by myetvmedia

Before reality TV there was Thor HyerdahlKon-Tiki, the long-awaited movie remake of Thor Heyerdahl’s’s epic 8000 km journey across the Pacific received a standing ovation at the TIFF world premiere. Directors Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg have made  an outstanding film, recreating world famous Norwegian explorer and anthropologist Heyerdahl’s (Pal Sverre Hagen) adventures based on his 1950 Oscar winning documentary.

Hyerdahl was determined to convince the world that Polynesia was settled by Incas who he proposed got there on balsa rafts by crossing the Pacific. No one would publish his thesis so to prove it in 1947 he decided to undertake the very dangerous journey himself. The movie is visually stunning, breathtakingly beautiful, nerve-rackingly realistic and magical. Cinematographer Geir Hartly Andreassen (Max Manus) has done a masterful job bringing the immensity of the natural world, the star filled heavens, seas teaming with fish, massive storms, a shark attack and an encounter with a whale into breathtaking clarity.


Never had such an adventure story and its heroic explorer/scientist Thor Hyerdahl captured the attention of the world like Kon-Tiki did in 1947. Thor Hyerdahl (Pal Sverre Hagen) is a brave, heroic adventurer and a character that captures the screen immediately. The film opens with a brief introduction to young Thor who displays his iron will and courage when he tries to cross an area of open water on a frozen lake. Onlookers scream, “Don’t do it!” butThor pays no attention although he cannot swim. He still cannot twenty years later when the same defiance and courage will find him embarking on his Kon-Tiki expedition.

Hyerdahl is completely convinced of his theories but the scientific community is not. He decides to prove his theory by carrying out the journey himself in a balsa raft with a crew of 5. Despite no funding and the oddest crew, only one has any sailing experience, Hyerdahl sets out to recreate the same journey and with the same materials and methods that would have been available to South American Incas 1500 years earlier. Hyerdahl named his balsa-wood raft after the Inca sun god Kon-Tiki. The trip was considered a suicide mission.

“The raft is composed of 9 two-foot thick Balsa logs, ranging in length from 30 to 45 feet, the longest in the middle, lashed to cross beams, covered by a bamboo deck on which is an open hut. A bipod mast, carrying a square sail, five centreboards, and a steering-oar completed the construction.”
Thor Heyerdahl Sea Routes to Polynesia Bradshaw Foundation

Hyerdahl left behind his wife (Agnes Kittelsen) and children to undertake the voyage.  A two-way radio is Thor’s only modern concession on this 4000-mile journey. This movie is truly an experience that will leave a lasting impression. Kon-Tiki is truly inspirational and a cause for reflection as man’s vulnerability is played against the magnitude of the natural world.

Directors Roenning and Sandberg have worked together in the past on Bandidasand Max Manus as well as having collaborated on hundreds of commercials together. They have proved they were the perfect duo to undertake retelling one of the greatest real life adventures of the 20th century. A truly magnificent film – A must see.

Christophe Chanel/Moira Romano

Trailer #1

Trailer #2


  • Kon-Tiki 3
  • Kon-Tiki 1
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