December 5th, 2014



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A thriller set at the beginning of the 1980's Norwegian Oil Boom and centered on a diver whose obsession with reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea leads to tragedy.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 6.0/10 (2,036 voted)

Critic's Score: 53/100

Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg

Stars: Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang, Aksel Hennie

This conspiracy thriller is set in the early 80's, the beginning of the Norwegian Oil Boom. Enormous oil and gas deposits are discovered in the North Sea and the authorities aim to bring the oil ashore through a pipeline from depths of 500 meters. A professional diver, Petter, obsessed with reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea has the discipline, strength and courage to take on the world's most dangerous mission. But a sudden, tragic accident changes everything. Petter is sent on a perilous journey where he loses sight of who's pulling the strings. Gradually he realizes that he is in way over his head and that his life is at stake.

Writers: Nikolaj Frobenius, Hans Gunnarsson

Wes Bentley - Mike
Stephen Lang - Ferris
Aksel Hennie - Petter
Stephanie Sigman - Maria
Jonathan LaPaglia - Ronald
Ane Dahl Torp - Pia
Jørgen Langhelle - Leif
André Eriksen - Knut
Jerker Fahlström - Jørgen's father
Arne Lindtner Næss - Minister
David A. Jørgensen - Jørgen
Endre Hellestveit - Trond
Janne Heltberg - Trude
Eirik Stubø - Jeger
Robin Hayes - Philip

Taglines: When your ultimate adventure becomes your ultimate nightmare


Official Website: Official Facebook | Official site

Country: Norway, Germany, Sweden, France, Finland

Language: Norwegian, English

Release Date: 5 December 2014

Box Office Details

Budget: €5,555,559 (estimated)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The accident, where Aksel Hennie rolls his Jeep isn't staged, but a real not planned rollover without a stunt man. Hennie was to drive off the road, and make a Sharp turn, but the Jeep wasn't able to perform such a turn at that speed, without rolling over. See more »

The movie is set in 1970. In a scene towards the end of the movie, the main character runs through a marina featuring a boat having a contra-rotating boat propeller. This system branded "DuoProp" was introduced in 1982 by Volvo Penta. See more »

User Review


Rating: 7/10

Pioneer is a thriller inspired by true events in the 70'ies, when Norwegians and Americans was experimenting with deep sea diving, so that oil could go directly in pipelines from the deep sea oil wells on to land. This was landmark and record breaking work, and there was some tension between the Norwegians and the Americans back then. Humans were guinea pigs, in the sense that this was never done before. You could call it a moon landing at deep sea.

This thriller has a very different style from what you might usually think a thriller should have. It bears resemblances with sci-fi films when landing on the moon. The feeling of the film is also close to films paranoia films like "The conversation" (of which thus doesn't even come close) or more known submarine films. Claustrophibic from time to time. The finishing scene is pure film art, but still maybe too obvious symbolic.

I found the film exciting, and I liked especially the way the underwater situations were told. We were taken in on the blurry life of deep sea divers, either they were looking through water, murky waters or glass, and drug effects making distortion on sight. I also liked the setting. Very bleak seventies, down to every little details as to colors like we see them on photos today, and to authentic looking milk cartons. This is very qualified film making in many ways.

However, there's some problems. The sound is a bad flashback from the seventies as well, and some of the ideas are not too well thought through. The limping (no more needed to be said) is ridiculous, and far off when it comes to the script. What the Hell happened here!?!

Once again I think Aksel Hennie is electric in his role, as were the others. Very good instruction, and quality actors all the way through. It was like looking on a seventies spy thriller. A very international crew, with Wes Bentley, Stephen Land, Jonathan LaPaglia, Stephanie Sigman, Ane Dahl Torp, all making us remember the seventies with both heart and shrugs.

Again screenwriter Nicolaj Frobenius proves his worth, as of course do director Erik Skjoldbjærg, which also has done great work with the films "Insomnia" (later remade by Christopher Nolan), "Prozac Nation", "An Enemy of the People" and the bank heist thriller "Nokas". But here there's some problems, and there are plot holes and easy solutions which irritates, especially on second watch. This tells that the film is more entertainment than really great filmmaking for film buffs.

What a director! So different films, and such great feels to every single one! Still this falls through compared With Insomnia and Nokas with much easier solutions, and a more shallow film making than we're used to by Skjoldbjærg.


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