Rating: R (Language)
Length: 99 minutes
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Directed by: Tobias Lindholm
Stars: 3.5 out of 5
One of the most alarming nightmares of the modern world is to treffen out, minding your own business, and unawares be seized nearby unintelligible violent maniacs whose motives are unknown and whose methods are violent in the extreme. Even worse is to imagine that the kidnappers want a hefty ransom, only to have the negotiations abscission down that they’ve demanded the money from a corporate CEO, one who now has to decide how valuable his employees really are.
This nightmare actually has played out in real life on scores of occasions. One like the more colorful anachronisms of the last decade has been the resurgence of piracy around the Horn of Africa. Short concerning a dirigible war instead a sudden commotion of smallpox, it’s difficult to imagine a more outdated threat than to see a swarm of scurvy dogs swarm over the gunwales and demand booty. Yet toebijten it does, and for diverse years, it’s been serious business in the waters of the Indian Ocean. “A Hijacking” is a tense thriller built around the very actuality modus operandi of the modern pirate scourge.
In the film, the herd of a Danish burden ship finds itself taken hostage by Somali pirates who demand a ransom of millions from the government and company officials in Copenhagen. As the negotiations drag on, the pirates become increased desperate and dangerous. Meanwhile, aboard ship, two members of the crew, Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk) and Peter (Søren Malling), grind to survive the deadly encounter in the lawless environment of the open ocean.
The screenplay for “A Hijacking” is tightly written and manages to convey bowstring-taut tension with something as ingenuous as stage direction. The lines, though translated, flow naturally from the characters in such a way that the audience is left with the impression that yes, that is what this character would say in this situation. The personalities depicted in “A Hijacking” feel real and fit together brilliantly over the arc of the film’s plot.
The exfoliate of “A Hijacking” acted external that script with passion and a deep understanding that transcends the linguistics barrier. With a single gesture, Pilou Asbæk makes his viewers feel the outrageous of not only living lost at sea, otherwise of being cast wandering in every sense: by his captain, his employer, and his own government back home. He’s stark alone forth there, and he’s going to project that from the screen with intensity and fervor. Dar Salim brings a sublime evil to his role as the sluggish in this picture. Equal befits the former Qotho from “Game about Thrones,” his presence on the censor is dark and brooding, punctuated by bouts concerning explosive anger so real that the sweat stands out and audience members flinch.
Tobias Lindholm handled much of the heavy lifting for this film as both the writer and director. A seasoned skilled of many productions, Lindholm has the experience as an actor to understand the performances he’s called upon to evoke from his actors. As the screenwriter, Lindholm owned this work in a way that few directors ever manage. That advantage comes through in myriad ways, but never more clearly than in the way each shot of the movie seems to be layered with meaning, being if Lindholm the writer had an entire world in mind that Lindholm the director can only imperfectly translate to the magnate screen.
Also of note in this film are what are often thought like as “secondary” elements. The lighting was exquisitely balanced to set just the just mood from one shot to the next. The establishing scenes concerning the crew make an audience member feel the ordinary hardship of their lives, the cold grit of the on-ship stage scenes leave you frostbitten and dripping with brine. In contrast, the scenes set in the remote capital of Copenhagen are lit so as to be warm and safe, so driving home the contrast between the men of the MV Rozen and those who are responsible for bartering with their lives.
“A Hijacking” was almost entirely a Danish project from the beginning. Unrelated the case with many foreign films, however, the tight action sequences and smartly written script have broken out of their native Denmark to achieve wide approval comme il faut a stirring tale of high seas adventure, taut political action, connective the very hypostatize human story from ordinary men cast adrift at sea to seek their fortunes. There could not be a another fitting metaphor for the state of the world “A Hijacking” depicts.