DVD Review: A Hijacking

STUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Tobias Lindholm | CAST: Pilou Asbaek, Abdihakin Asgar, Soren Malling, Dar Salim, Roland Moller
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 10/15/2013 | PRICE: DVD $26.98, Blu-ray $29.98
BONUSES: featurette, extended scenes, AXS TV program
SPECS: R | 103 min. | Foreign language thriller | widescreen | stereo | Danish with English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall


Inspired by true incidents (the hijackings of the Danish-owned freighters Danica White and CEC Future in 2007 and 2008), Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm’s unrelenting 2012 thriller A Hijacking is similar in subject matter to Captain Phillips, the recent big-budget, star-driven Hollywood effort. (For me, anything with Tom Hanks is an effort.)

A Hijacking movie scene

Abdihakin Asgar (l.) shows Pilou Asbaek that he means business in A Hijacking.

Lindholm, however, refuses to apologize for or sentimentalize modern piracy. His pirates are brutal thugs and their actions are an assault on civilization itself.

The Danish vessel Rozen is two days out of port on the Indian Ocean when it is boarded by African pirates. This begins several months of tortuous ransom negotiations between the hijackers and the shipping company. The CEO and his executives are, refreshingly, not depicted as greedy martinets; they are men with a profound sense of responsibility.

Lindholm does not stint in his graphic depiction of hostage life, especially bathroom arrangements. One of his most striking visual elements is showing both the ship and corporate headquarters as open spaces: one with ocean vistas, the other with free-flowing glass-walled designs. As the hijacking continues, both become prisons for their victims.

The acting is brilliantly on point. Outstanding are Pilou Asbaek as the burly ship’s cook and Sorin Malling as the CEO; both men eventually broken by their ordeal. Top honors, however, go to Abdihakin Asgar, terrifying in his manipulations as the pirate spokesman.

One caveat concerns the filmmakers’ decision not to show the actual hijacking. I did wonder about the logistics of the commandeering of a freighter on the vast Indian Ocean. But that’s a minor consideration for a film that is never less than compelling and definitely not for the squeamish.


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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.