"Pioneer" Goes Boldly Where The 70s Went Before Review

Any film maker looking to revive the conspiracy thriller has their work cut out for them. The genre hit its peak after Watergate, when the idea that the powers that be were little more than crooks (at best) was both novel and shocking, but it's a little harder to rouse a nation in which a full 25% of the population believes that 9/11 was an inside job. It would, frankly, be far more shocking if the government weren't up to no good. Such a problem befalls Pioneer, a competently produced and acted thriller that nonetheless never quite thrills in the way you’d like for it to.

In the 1970s, a joint American-Norwegian team dives to the depths do to preparatory research for an undersea oil pipeline. The work is risky, but whoever succeeds in building it stands to gain an immeasurable fortune. After a fatal accident during a dive in which he was involved, Petter (Aksel Hennie) seeks to figure out what really happened, only to find his investigation stalled by the company, and even his own team. It’s hard to think of an industry with a worse reputation than oil, so while the mystery at the heart of Pioneer feels authentic, it’s hardly surprising, and you’re more likely to walk into the film with the suspicions that Petter spends the runtime developing.


The disc contains a number of featurettes (Reflecting on the Cast, The Jeep, Locations & Production Design, Diving, The Incident),  the pieces Making of Pioneer: A Dive into the Depths of the Sea, Working on Pioneer: Interviews with Stephanie Seligman "Maria" and Stephen Lang "Ferris", as well as trailers for some other Magnolia releases.

AXS TV: A Look at Pioneer and 


"Pioneer" is on sale March 10, 2015 and is rated R. Thriller. Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg. Written by Nikolaj Frobenius, Hans Gunnarsson, Cathinka Nicolaysen, Erik Skjoldbjærg, Kathrine Valen Zeiner. Starring Aksel Hennie, Stephen Lang, Wes Bentley.

Anders Nelson • Associate Editor


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