A few days out of harbour in the Indian Ocean, the Danish freighter MV Rozen is ambushed by Somali pirates, who demand millions in ransom for the return of the ship and its crew. The head of the shipping company, Peter Ludvigsen (Søren Malling, The Killing), immediately hires a professional negotiator to work with him-then disregards the expert’s advice and insists on dealing with the pirates himself.
As the days and weeks drag on with no end in sight, it’s clear that the job is much more than Ludvigsen bargained for. Meanwhile, the crew, their families, and the pirates themselves — some of them just kids, some apparently coerced into participating in the hijack — struggle to deal with the ever-mounting pressure, uncertainty, and potential for violence.
A grittily authentic suspenseful thriller, Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking is also a fascinating window onto the phenomenon of modern piracy. One of the most intriguing young filmmakers to emerge from Denmark in the last few years, writer of the celebrated Danish TV series Borgen, and co-writer of Thomas Vinterberg’s award-winning The Hunt.
Lindholm makes vivid use of actual locations and draws some of his cast from people who have been involved in similar situations. (Gary Skjoldmose Porter, who plays the negotiator, is a former hostage negotiator in real life.)
These elements of authenticity and Lindholm’s documentary style infuse the film with a sense of realism and increase the tension to almost unbearable levels, creating an all-too visceral thriller.