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Pioneer is a 2013 Norwegian thriller directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg and stars a talented cast including Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley, and Stephen Lang. The movie is an intense exploration of ambition, trust and the extreme lengths individuals will go to in order to achieve their goals and dreams.

Set in the early 1980s when Norway was on the cusp of discovering vast oil and gas reserves in the North Sea, Pioneer is inspired by true events but is not a factual account of the real-life drama. The country’s ambition was to build a pipeline at depths of over 500 meters to exploit the resources, thus making Norway one of the world's leading oil nations. It was a perilous, groundbreaking endeavor that demanded a new breed of divers able to withstand these herculean tasks and survive in the harshest of underwater conditions. These brave individuals were the pioneers whose story is the focal point of this gripping film.

In the center of the story is professional diver Petter (Aksel Hennie). A stalwart and ambitious individual with an unwavering dedication to his craft, he is intensely committed to be amongst the few who would lay the deep-sea pipeline. When he and his brother are chosen for a dangerous experimental dive in preparation for this monumental task - a dive that could potentially break world records - it marks the highlight of his career.

However, after a series of events, including a mysterious accident during one of their test dives, Petter finds himself at the center of a dangerous game. With escalating situations creating a web of uncertainties, deceit, and clandestine maneuvers, Petter is left lost amidst tensions, challenged to distinguish friend from foe and truth from lies.

Wes Bentley portrays an American lawyer attached to the oil project, whose character complements the complex narrative. The experienced Stephen Lang, plays the firm but sometimes contentious leader of the offshore oil drilling project. Their nuanced performances add to the multi-dimensional and suspenseful narrative.

Director Skjoldbjærg is known for his films like the original Norwegian version of 'Insomnia', and he continues to showcase his aptitude for thrillers with Pioneer. He exhibits mastery in creating a tense and thrilling atmosphere, not only through the impeccable storytelling, but also through the cinematography and symbolism. Filmed with a palette comprising largely of greys and blues to match the undersea and industrial settings, Pioneer, comes off as dark and gritty, reflecting the tension and gritty reality the divers face.

What truly sets Pioneer apart is the way it tangles personal storylines with broader socio-political issues related to power, profit, and national ambition. It investigates the facets of human behavior under duress, scrutinizing the measures people might resort to when confronted with hardships, and how ideals may get clouded when personal risks collide with national interests.

Notably, the sound design and underwater scenes are of particular merit. They help immerse audiences in a claustrophobic, high-pressure environment of a deep-sea diver. The viewers get to experience, at least in part, the heart-pounding fear of being hundreds of meters underwater, surrounded by nothing but the dark abyss. It adds to the thrill and provides a unique and immersive cinematic experience.

Pioneer weaves together personal narratives and political intrigue, creating a tense atmosphere that keeps you completely engrossed till the end. With standout performances, particularly from Aksel Hennie, the film captures the stark reality and heightened dangers associated with deep-sea diving while also managing to infect viewers with its relentless sense of dread and uncertainty.

In conclusion, Pioneer is an intriguing thriller that mixes personal sacrifice, political power games, and the determination of men obsessed with being part of something groundbreaking. It is an intense, dramatic interpretation of a lesser-known aspect of Norway's history and a testament to the sheer audacity of human courage and ambition. It's a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat while offering a deep dive into a world fraught with peril and intrigue.

Pioneer is a Thriller movie released in 2014. It has a runtime of 111 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.0. It also holds a MetaScore of 58.

How to Watch Pioneer

Where can I stream Pioneer movie online? Pioneer is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, FuboTV, Philo, Crackle, Plex, The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV, Vudu Free, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Pioneer for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Erik Skjoldbjrg
Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang
Also starring Aksel Hennie
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