What can you say about a thriller that seems absolutely
real, so convincing it might be a cinema verité-style documentary? That’s the
best way I can describe Tobias Lindholm’s Danish import A Hijacking, a film that I found profoundly disturbing and
difficult to put out of my mind.
A Hijacking tells
two parallel stories: how a cargo freighter is boarded by Somali pirates in the
Indian Ocean and its crew held hostage, and how the chief executive of its
parent company in Copenhagen goes about negotiating for the return of his men
and their vessel. Each set of characters is vividly portrayed without ever
resorting to melodrama. The picture cuts back and forth from the ship and its
crew, including a likable cook (Pilou Asbæk), to the boardroom and its
chillingly austere manager (Søren Malling), who reluctantly takes advice from a
professional hostage negotiator.
Writer-director Lindholm, who like his leading actors has
worked on the popular TV series Borgen,
is a master of minimalism. A number of crucial incidents occur offscreen, as if
he is making an anti-blockbuster. No matter: we feel the impact of those
moments as if he had depicted them in grim detail. Moment by moment, detail by
detail, we find ourselves wondering what will happen next, and pondering how we
would respond in a similar situation.
This is superior storytelling which builds to a sobering
conclusion. A Hijacking haunted my
thoughts for several days after I saw it. I can’t think of higher praise for