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A Hijacking (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 99 minutes.

OK for children.

While this film about a ship carrying cargo, the MV Rosen, that is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, it is really about the crew, zeroing in on Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk), the cook and Peter C. Ludvigsen (Søren Malling), who is the CEO of the company that owns the ship. Written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, this emphasizes the length of time involved in the negotiation that necessarily results from such a hijacking.

Although you might expect a lot of action in a film about a hijacking, there is very little action in this movie. Mostly it is about the drag of time and the pressure that’s put on Mikkel and Peter.

While Mikkel and Peter are the two main characters, there is a third, Omar (Abdihakin Asgar) who is the “negotiator” for the hijackers.

Lindholm bounces his story back between the ship and the corporate offices as the negotiations drag on for days, weeks, and months. Asbæk and Ludvigsen both give fine performances as the pressure on them mounts.

One technical problem that would’ve made it more realistic is that the physical appearance of the crew and the hijackers does not change over a period of several months. One of the crew, Jan (Roland Møller), has a Hollywood Hulk-esque three-day growth of beard when the ship is hijacked. This does not change throughout the movie. In reality, of course, their beards would grow and be shaggy and misshapen as time passed. Similarly, Mikkel’s well-trimmed beard doesn’t change throughout the ordeal. This touch of reality would have added to the ambience of time passing that Lindholm was trying to create.

Lindholm based his story on the hijackings of two ships, the Danica White and CEC Future, in 2007 and 2008. This is an interesting take on the hijacking of a ship in that it’s not an action/adventure film like, for instance, 1992’s Under Seige, which is probably the best of the hijacking genre. This is a lot more realistic. Because of that it’s not nearly as cinematic, but it is interesting and educational. I came out of it feeling fulfilled. Because it is so realistic I had a much better appreciation for what actually goes on when a ship is hijacked, and these hijackings occur much more often than most of us know.

June 12, 2013