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I sailed 4,000 miles on a balsa-wood raft once, no big deal

click to enlarge kon_tiki.jpg

The ocean is foreboding, but not always that exciting in the historical sailing drama, Kon-Tiki. Already Oscar-nominated, Norway's most expensive production is a big-budget retelling of national hero Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 expedition across the South Pacific. Attempting to prove wrong the prevailing theories that Polynesia was settled from the west, ethnographer Heyerdahl (played by mouthful Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen) builds a balsa-wood raft and sets out on a 4,000 mile journey from South America using tools and techniques only available 1,500 years prior. Already a best-selling 1948 memoir, and an Oscar-winning 1950 documentary, director Joachim Rønning had his work cut out for him in finding anything unfamiliar in this soaring tale of adventure. Luckily, he and his screenwriters seem to have invented conflicts and trials that didn't actually happen. Kon-Tiki is almost a sister-film to Life of Pi; though that movie was about a made-up tale, and this movie ironically is one.


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Vol 24, No 21
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