DVD Review: Danish Pirate Drama A HIJACKING Packs A Punch


A Hijacking is a Danish drama about the hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates. The tense film follows the events onboard the ship as well as the hostage negotiations taking place to free the men in Copenhagen.

2013 is the year of the Somali pirate, with the release of A Hijacking and Tom Hanks-starrer Captain Phillips. There are no Johnny Depp-style high-seas hijinks here, these pirates are deadly serious. Tobias Lindholm directs and writes this realistic thriller, which ratchets-up the tension by putting the viewer directly in with the action. You can tell that every moment matters. This is life or death

Pilou Asbæk stars as the ship’s cook, desperate to be reunited with his family. It’s a role that could have been over-played, but Asbæk brings the right amount of believability. The pirates here are terrifying, unpredictable and irrational and Asbæk expertly plays someone who is caught-up in events which are out of his control.

Lindholm’s film has relatively lean running time (a little over 95 minutes), which helps to sustain the film’s tension. He makes some interesting choices as a writer and director – like the cargo ship’s owner treating the hostage negotiations as a business deal and skipping the actual attack on the ship. He shows a deft hand at storytelling, expertly balancing both sides of the film’s narrative.

A Hijacking is a film that tells an original tale in a unique way. Tobias Lindholm shows skill as a director, knowing how to present serious drama with genuine emotion. It’s a film that’s worth both your time and your emotional energy.