Kon-Tiki ★★★★

Determination in spite of remarkable obstacles. Resolve in the face of insurmountable adversity. And faith, above all else. This is the story of Thor Heyerdahl's incredible quest to not only prove a theory about the link between Polynesia and South America, but to prove himself worthy of recognition.

Kon-Tiki is an adventure film of the highest calibre. The characters portrayed are nuanced and well-balanced, and the visuals and score are truly moving. From the get-go, we are entrenched in Thor's unwavering resolve to see his efforts come to fruition, and though Pål Sverre Hagen does not demonstrate a whole lot of range as the lead, we get a true sense of what's at stake - both professionally and personally for his character. The supporting cast, especially Anders Baasmo Christiansen and Gustaf Skarsgård, balance levity and tension throughout the film and are the resonant emotional anchors for the film.

History has proven Heyerdahl's research largely moot, but in demonstrating that a link was possible and entirely valid in spite of controversy, the story of Kon-Tiki demonstrates the power of the human will - one that spans millennia. It lends the this film's saga an incredibly larger scale than one small group of adventurers on a raft. There is one moment in particular where, in a seamless effects shot, we pull away from the microscopic view of 6 people alone on a raft to get a macro sense of how staggeringly epic their journey must be.

It's the impressive CGI and compelling visuals here that truly breathe life into the film. Where, as an apt comparison, Ang Lee's Life of Pi evoked a dream-like aesthetic that somehow augmented the beauty of the natural world it intended to portray, Kon-Tiki does a far better job of presenting the natural phenomena with breathtaking realism and exceptional camera choreography.

Overall, it's an adventure film well worth seeing. I'm not sure if something was lost in the English-language version of the film I saw (which I suppose has English sections where the original would have none, though it still predominantly requires subtitling). But however you watch it, it's not the language that's going to blow you away.