An antithesis to Pirate of the Caribbean, A Hijacking, A Danish film written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, follows the events of a small Danish cargo ship, hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian ocean. In its Hollywood version, and not that one will ever be made, one would expect to see a Danish crew member pulling a heroic stint to save the day. But in this real to life drama, there is no such nonsense. The film is psychologically gripping, an emotional rollercoaster. Following two very different worlds, we are introduced to an easygoing cook on the cargo ship, wonderfully played by Pilou Asbæk, intending on getting back home to his wife and young child, and to the shipping company’s powerful CEO, skillfully portrayed by Søren Malling. Acting by the entire cast if superb.
There is not much action in A Hijacking yet the characters are vivid and the tensions high. Lindholm wisely allows for slow moments after each dramatic climax. He contrasts the two worlds without issuing judgment.
A Hijacking touches on multiple other layers which this review will be too short to cover. It highlights a painful phenomenon which developed off the Somali coast post the Somali civil war. Though the past few years saw a decline in hijacked ships, even right now there are sailors held captive for ransom. The hell they and their families go through is unimaginable. According to Reuters, 3,500 seafarers were captured during a four-year period. Yet, though shot in a super realistic style, the film A Hijacking is not a documentary nor is it a PSA protesting piracy. Even its name, A Hijacking, implies there is nothing unique about this particular story compared with hundred others, and that may be the scariest part.
A Hijacking is a psychological thriller portraying the breakdown of both an A type and a B type personalities under challenging circumstances, leaving scars that will never heal.
It is a very well-made chilling film, that takes place worlds away from the universe of Captain Jack Sparrow.