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Pioneer | Aksel Hennie's dogged diver tries to get to the bottom of an underwater conspiracy



A dogged Norwegian diver tries to get to the bottom of a tragic underwater accident in Pioneer (Pionér), a slice of Nordic Noir set in late-1970s Norway.

It’s the eve of the country’s oil boom and ruthless players – including a cutthroat American company represented by Wes Bentley and Stephen Lang – are looking to cash in on the country’s imminent oil boom. This means the film’s stubborn hero (Aksel Hennie, star of 2011's nail-biting Headhunters (opens in new tab)) has to contend with numerous attempts on his life on dry land as well as various underwater perils.

With his ratty moustache and balding head, Hennie makes an unlikely leading man (if this were a Hollywood movie, the chiselled Bentley would surely fit the bill), but he suits the film’s dour, downbeat mood, reminiscent of paranoid conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s.


Certificate 15. Runtime 115 mins. Director Erik Skjoldbjærg

Pioneer debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere at 9.45pm tonight and is available on DVD from Arrow Films (opens in new tab).

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.