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4.2 out of 5 stars79
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2013
Firstly this is an amazing film. Johan Philip Asbæk plays the role of Mikkel, the ship's cook. He is the main character on board a ship which has been captured by Somalian pirates. Soren Malling is Peter, the CEO for the shipping company thus takes on the lead role in negotiations to free the crew members.

What gives the film energy is the constant switching back and forth between the ship in the Indian ocean and the corporate boardroom in Denmark. The stark contrast between the two is shocking. The ship's crew (seven in total) live in fear for their lives on a daily basis and are kept in horrible conditions with lack of the man's basic needs ie fresh air, food, toilet etc. In the meantime Peter decides to ignore the advice from his own security expert and deal with the negotiations himself rather than rely on a middleman (despite being warned that this could be a huge mistake). This is not from arrogance but more from the point that this man is driven and wants to see the crew return safely. So whilst the dialogue with Peter and Omar (the negotiator for the pirates) drags on and on over weeks and then months, the crew are reaching breaking point. And the company men play a hard bargin. Thus it becomes a war of attrition. Everyone wants to go home but until the company pay up this isn't going to happen.

We only get a small glimpse into the world of those being held captive on the ship and its not very pretty. Perhaps the biggest eye opener is the protracted negotiations from the boardroom. These scenes I enjoyed a lot more, tense, yet mens live's are being toyed with whilst those in power begin a long and drawn out process over money. Mikkel's mental and physical health (along with other crew members) takes a battering as his fear and frustrations grow everyday at the lack of movement on the dialogue between the CEO and the pirates.

A fantastic and tense drama especially from the lead roles. Johan Philip Asbæk is great as the kidnapped man at the end of his tether but its Malling who steals the show as the conflicted CEO who takes on the burden of getting his men home safely. Does he? Well, you will just have to watch to find out.
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on 14 May 2013
Blimey. A Hijacking follows an industrial ship working in African seas that's hijacked (off-screen) by Somalian pirates. The film is divided into two strands, the first is the hijacked ship dealing with the pirates day on day, and the second is the interrogation process where the companies CEO tries to negotiate his crews release. It's the second strand that is most notable and it's the action and inaction of that aspect of the movie that provides most of the nail biting tension. To that end, Tobias Lindholm's film is just as much about the conditions of the hijacking as it the boneheaded pride and stupidity of the business world, treating an incredibly precarious and dangerous situation as a business transaction with another awkward customer.

All shot with hand held cameras; A Hijacking has an up-close and intimate approach to storytelling, with naturalistic presentation and acting. Johan Philip Asbæk who plays the ships cook, Mikkel is the focal point of much of the film and his performance is heart-breaking. This is personal and naturalistic film making, a creative decision that elevates A Hijacking into an edge of the seat tense, emotional, upsetting, gruelling and exhausting experience. I was a wreck after watching this film. What Jaws did for the sea and beaches, a hijacking does the same for boats. As hard a film as it is, the way you emotionally connect with its protagonists and their plight is more real and more emotionally engaging than the films preventing it from getting a decent cinema run. For me it's the first incontestable film for my best of the year list.
11 comment26 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Heading towards India a Danish ship is captured by Somali Pirates. The small crew is caught in a situation for which they have no training. The pirates swiftly bring in their top negotiator and the CEO of the shipping firm saddles up to negotiate the deal (backed up with his own experts). The negotiation thus becomes two dimensional: there is the key of reaching an agreed sum by haggling and engaging in the meta-game of negotiation (one does not offer too high a price too easily) and alongside this game is the trauma of crew and families as they endure their confinement. Both sides engage in a number of ruses to improve their negotiating position, but as time passes (and a lot of time passes) the CEO begins to grasp that negotiating with Japanese suppliers over a contract is not quite the same as negotiating with lives. The film is low key without the Hollywood crisis style of narrative; it is the unremitting passage of time that gets one.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2013
Starring three actors from the DR TV drama Borgen: Series 1 & 2 [DVD], A Hijacking is a powerful story showing the moving account of a Danish owned vessel hijacked by Somali pirates. Borgen trio Pilou Asbaek, Soren Malling and Dar Salim are absolutely convincing in their roles. There's no Hollywood style huge rescue attempt here. In this film we really get to know the characters and as a viewer you are rewarded for your time investment in the film.
If you've enjoyed watching any other Danish film or recent TV drama, A Hijacking will be right up your street.
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A Hijacking is 100 minutes of gruelling, gripping tension. It doesn't seek to glamorise or Hollywoodise the very real threat of modern-day piracy of commercial shipping. Instead it starkly portrays the at times horrific possibilities when hostages are held long-term for ransom. It is not a barrel of laughs.

The action switches between a Danish cargo carrier which is captured by Somali pirates, and the shipping company which must negotiate for the safe return of the crew. All of the performances are excellent - but Søren Malling at the CEO of the company is especially stunning. Against the advice of a security consultant he takes responsibility for the negotiations and personally deals with the pirate's representative... and over the weeks which stretch into months this confident, capable and assured man starts to quietly unravel. There are some shatteringly powerful scenes; especially when he has to inform the crew's relatives of sudden events.
Likewise, the key character on the ship - its cook - puts in a pivotal performance. The plot explores how the captives and their captors at times reach towards an acknowledgement of shared humanity. But it also shies away from standard kidnap clichés, and presents some moments of frightening brutality.
The pirate negotiator (who may be far more than that) is another compelling character; well worth watching his frustration reach boiling point.

The filming is understated and almost invisible: events are presented in matter of fact fashion without 'fake documentary' camera-shake or any such gimmicks. A Hijacking doesn't need them. The scenes in the operations room of the Danish company are especially atmospheric: a room with no windows; bare walls plastered with photos of the kidnapped crew; a stark whiteboard showing the kidnappers' current demand. The action leaps to the cabin on board the ship where the captain, cook and first officer are imprisoned - with no ventilation or toilet access - and we're invited to see the similarities between the two situations.
Look out also for the scene with the goats, which really doesn't require any explanation to hammer home its sinister suggestion.
The English subtitling was well presented and didn't disrupt the dramatic flow at any point.

A stunning if arduous example of superb film-making.
9/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 November 2015
This is a low-key, absorbing, intense and harrowing Danish film involving the hijacking of a commercial ship in the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates and the negotiations which take place to achieve its successful recovery and the release of its crew unharmed. The high level of tension is unrelenting as the director effectively depicts the vulnerability of the captives and the unpredictability of their captors, in particular the lack of common language between the crew and pirates where a misinterpreted gesture might lead to violence or death. The heat, humidity, sweat and stink of the ship contrasts vividly with the air conditioned offices of the shipping company in Copenhagen where the CEO attempts to calmly and coolly ensure that the ransom paid is as low as possible. The cinematography is confidently naturalistic, almost documentary in style while the quality of the acting is consistently high, especially the performances of Pilou Asbaek and Soren Malling, familiar faces from the brilliant TV series Borgen. This is a powerfully moving film, full of empathy and humanity and in my opinion an outstanding piece of filmmaking.
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on 3 November 2013
The film is called " A Hijacking" because "Boring Negotiations" doesn't sell. The production has won numerous awards as the film is billed as a psychological drama/thriller, easy on the thriller part. You don't get to see the actual hijacking, or for that matter any real action. The film moved from one boring talking scene to the next. Once the ship was hijacked, the parent company for some reason entered into long drawn out negotiations rather than simply allow the insurance company to make the payment and get the crew home as they typically do.

Søren Malling played the CEO who is torn between saving the crew and saving a dollar. This sets up as a metaphor for the worker's struggle against management. I would agree that the film was well done. However, for entertainment value, an honest 2 stars.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity. Urination scenes.

Film uses English subtitles when English is not spoken.
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on 16 March 2014
This film is an excellent Danish film about a Danish cargo ship that is hijacked by Somali pirates, it tells the story along two threads, the first is about the ship's crew being held hostage, in particular the ship's cook. In parallel it tells about the negotiations for the crew's release by the CEO of the corporation that owns the ship.

The strength of the film comes from the performances, across the board they are excellent. The pace of the film is slow, but it is always interesting. The interaction between the crew and the pirates is mercurial, one moment there is a sense of camaraderie, they are all waiting for the same thing. The next they are subjected to terror through violence and mock executions. At the centre of it is the ship's cook, the pirates manipulate him to aid their negotiations, he also has the most contact with them and the relationship between them is fascinating to watch.

The other thread focuses on the CEO and his negotiations with the pirate leader, these are a slow and tense process forming the backbone of the film. There's some internal politics involved and he's being advised by an expert in the field, but against the advice conducts the negotiations himself. We also catch glimpses of the families of the crew, although here the film lacked a little.

Like other fine Danish films and TV shows it's an understated film that works on the strength of its performances. There's no flash or melodrama, it's an authentic feel that unfolds at its own pace. It's an excellent film that's well worth a watch.
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on 11 August 2015
Forget Captain Philips with Tom Hanks, this is the original, the film that unofficially inspired Paul Greengrass' one. It's as much full of tension, action and drama as the other, but it is more human and less easily manicheist: it's not that you support the "good guys" the whole tim, but it's much more complex and undefined in the full picture it gives: that of both sides wih their own reasons, and not judt good west vs evil "third world". There is not a leading character but a group of people with their own troubled minds and unspoken dramas, hopes, dreams. It is cinematograhically less impressive but not less good than Greengrass film, and more human. maybe just more european
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on 22 September 2013
Wow this is a gem. A Danish film about a Danish ship en route to India and is hijacked by Somali pirates and the plight of the crew and the Danish company's negotations as it drags on and on. None of the Hollywood gloss, this is hard hitting gritty realistic drama. Highly recommend you watch this. I had already bought the DVD on its release a few weeks ago and heard Mark Kermode give it a good review on BBC News and finally watched it tonight. And its much better than I expected. 5/5.
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