A Hijacking -- An Unsparing Realism

                                   There is a Hollywood hostage action movie named "Under Siege", starring Steven Seagal. In the film, he works as a cook and has a back-story as a commando and mixed martial artist. A rebellious hero who outwits the baddies in a series of wild action set-pieces. The screenwriters have  extorted maximum melodrama from the spiraling disorder. These things doesn't happen in Tobias Lindholm’s psychological drama “A Hijacking" (Kapringen, 2012), even though he has used a boat that was once held by pirates for real. 

                                This intense story about a group of seamen begins in the Indian Ocean where the ship’s cook and family man Mikkel ( Pilou Asbæk) is calling his wife and daughter back home. He is aboard in a sparsely populated cargo ship operating in the Indian Ocean. Later, we unceremoniously cut back to the ship, where the crew has already been overpowered by a larger, gang of Somali freebooters. Back in Copenhagen, the shipping company's frazzled Ceo Peter (Soren Malling) decides to lead the hostage talks himself. He is aided by a British professional negotiator Connor. On the Somalian side, Omar (Asgar), a shady intermediary, who claims himself as only an interpreter, demands a ransom of 15 million dollars. The Danes in the shipping office returns the call with an paltry offer of $250,000. At that point, we might guess that we’re in for a lengthy, psychologically fraught battle of wills.

                                  Tobias Lindholm is best known for his screenwriting skills. His collaboration with Thomas Vinterberg in "Submarine" and "The Hunt" (a superior psychological drama) proves that he’s the one to watch out, who eschews sensationalism at every turn in a tightly wounded narratives. The hostage situation, which runs to well over 125 days doesn't feel unnaturally long in a film of 102 minutes. Lindholm beings up the tension through rigorous realism, austere style. He boldly skips the violent crusade --  boarding of the vessel by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean -- and focuses more on boardroom politics, which has a stunning final-act landing the crucial emotional blow.

                                   Asbaek as the cook tether the movie without resorting to any loud grandstanding. Malling as the consummate corporate guy, Peter, gives an unnerving performance. He is the man who is caught outside his comfort zone. He feels responsible to his crew and their distressed families, but also caught between the board (who wants to wrap at a minimal cost) and hijackers' unreasonable demands.  
                                    "A Hijacking" is a powerful film and wholly engaging from start to finish. It astoundingly conveys the tedium of confinement of both captors and captured trapped aboard a ship. 


A Hijacking (Kapringen) -- IMDb


Jiggyasa said...

You always solve my puzzle on movie to watch on weekends. Thanks buddy. great review again!


Unknown said...

Looks good melodrama, worth seeing. love choice of music.