Pioneer (2014) - Erik Skjoldbjaerg
Set in the early 80s, Erik Skjoldbjaerg's Pioneer chronicles the beginning of the Norwegian Oil Boom, with enormous deposits of oil being discovered in the North Sea. With Norwegian authorities and American enterprises intent on putting a pipeline deep underneath the sea, they call on professional diver, Petter, and his brother Knut, to take on one of the most dangerous missions a deep sea diver could embark on. On the mission a tragic accident occurs, which sends Petter on a journey looking for answers, soon discovering deep corruption that threatens his life. Erik Skjoldbiaerg's Pioneer is a conspirarcy thriller in the vein of films such as The Parallax View or The Conversation, following a vunerable but resourseful protagonist who will stop at nothing to discover the truth. The film carries a nice sense of paranoia but suffers from poor-pacing, delivering a seething commentary on corruption and greed. Pioneer isn't so much a film that attacks Norweigen policy but instead it reminds viewers that industrialists and politicians routinely show little empathy for the working class. It's almost as if the film simply accepts this truth by the end, succumbing to what will always exist. While Pioneer features a powerful conclusion, with one of the best final shots of the year, the film suffers too much from lack of surprises and drawn-out scenes that hurt the pacing. In the end, Erik Skjoldbiaerg's Pioneer suffers from being perhaps too long but it's still a well-crafted conspiracy thriller.
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