Review this movie
Jan 16, 2014Director Lindholm, a graduate of the Dogma school, creates such immense tension without the use of time-watching techniques and other on-screen antics prominent in other hijacking films, in an absorbing and carefully woven thriller that focuses on emotion as seen from the eyes of one victim (the chef) and the CEO of the shipping company. It must also be noted that the very same guy, in the capacity of a screenwriter penned two of my favourite films of 2013, this one and ‘The Hunt’.… Expand
Sep 22, 2013I have traversed the Gulf of Aden twice, the piece of ocean between Yemen and Somalia notorious for it’s pirates. I was somewhat familiar with the methods that pirates use when commandeering ships to demand ransoms, but to appreciate the events of Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking no sailing experience is necessary.
Even though the film is a representation of how an actual Hijacking would take place: Quick, precise, and severe, the film spends little time on the mechanics of how the pirates actually board. This is not an action film. We learn that a high-speed boat has approached and boarded effortlessly, that’s it. More important to the film is what happens while the pirates are onboard.
The first thing the pirates do, even before starting negotiations for money, is demand food. The ship’s cook, played brilliantly by Danish actor Pilou Asbaek, becomes the pirate’s gopher, and an ad-hoc negotiator between the pirates and the ship’s owners.
Conditions onboard are miserable. Shocking even. The cook and 2 other crewmen are kept in a small closet for weeks, four other crewmembers below deck. They’re not allowed out to relive themselves in a toilet; they must use a corner of the room. My training on ships did not include images like these. There was no training about how to interact with maniacs with automatic weapons.
The job of casting the actors that play the pirates is ingenious. All the actor’s performances are in the Somali language (I think). Their interactions with the ship’s crew are so authentic that I’m guessing none of these men were trained actors. Probably just local Somali men recruited by the casting director, but I can’t verify this. If they were actors, they’re the best I’ve ever seen.
Contentious negotiations between the ship’s owners and the pirates leave questions. The hijacking ends without incident, almost, but the negotiations take months. Could the ship’s owner have done more? Given in to the pirate’s demands sooner? Gotten the crew home faster? Undoubtedly questions that need to be asked of the real hijackings that take place routinely in the Gulf, where we get little more than a single paragraph in the news about some, and no more.… Expand
Aug 18, 2013The suspense is not just carried out between the hijacked ship crew and their captors, but also back at shipping HQ where the CEO declines advice to use an outside negotiator and instead installs himself as the mouthpiece in direct talks with the "translator" of the Somali pirates. It's nail biting stuff.
Jun 27, 2013The amount of intimacy created by director Tobias Lindholm resulted in only one of the finest releases of the year right here, led by a splendid performance from Pilou Asbaek, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite emerging young actors in recent years.