Dive into suspense

Film review: Pioneer

John Smistad
Olympia, Wash.
Norwegian thriller Pioneer

Espionage, betrayal, and murder are all spellbindingly explored—along with the darkest depths of the ocean—in the absorbing Norwegian thriller Pioneer (Pionér, 2013).

Aksel Hennie (A Somewhat Gentle Man) is superb as deep-sea diver Petter, who becomes entangled in a web of deadly deceit after losing his brother and diving teammate in a suspicious fatal underwater “accident.” Petter makes it his mission to expose an increasingly evident sinister alliance between an American oil-exploration company and the Norwegian government. It is an uneasy joint venture, forged with the express purpose of extracting billions of dollars in oil reserves discovered deep beneath the surface of the North Sea circa the early 1980s.


The breakneck pace, uniformly first-rate performances, and stunning underwater photography all come together to make Pioneer a film into which you will want to fully submerge.

The film is directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, best known for Insomnia and Prozac Nation. It is available to watch on Amazon Prime and other streaming video services.

This article originally appeared in the November 16, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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John Smistad

John Smistad is a published author of short stories, poems, essays, and movie reviews. He lives and loves with his family and cat in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. He is the fiercely proud son of a native Norwegian dad. (He loves his mom, too.) You can follow him as on his blog at thequickflickcritic.blogspot.com.