Fans of Danish TV series The Killing and Borgen will recognise a few faces in A Hijacking, director Tobias Lindholm’s follow-up to The Hunt. The plot concerns a merchant vessel en route to Chennai that gets boarded by Somali pirates. Subsequently the crew face an increasingly intense situation as negotiations ensue between the Copenhagen based shipping company and the pirates.
Bravely eschewing Hollywood histrionics, Lindholm doesn’t show the boarding of the vessel and keeps onscreen violence to a bare minimum. The drama takes place verite style, with claustrophobic, fly-on-the-wall observations inside the vessel and inside company boardrooms. The result is a frighteningly tense, believable drama as both the pirates and the Company behave despicably in their search for a settlement.
Performances are good, especially from Pilou Asbaek and Soren Malling, as the ship’s cook and shipping company CEO respectively. On a moral level this is a harrowing and thought provoking examination of the folly of putting financial value on human life, and the resultant appalling damage to hostages – psychological as well as physical.
If you have a pathological aversion to subtitles (even though some sequences of the film are in English) no doubt you’ll sit this one out and await Hollywood’s take on the subject (Captain Phillips, coming this October). For everyone else this is recommended albeit grim viewing.