A Hijacking - the best movie I've seen this year

A Hijacking is an intensely realistic thriller that depicts what happens when a band of Somali pirates hijacks a small shipping vessel in the Indian Ocean.

The story alternates between the events that unfold on the ship and the ones that take place in the offices of the shipping company in Denmark.

We see the takeover of the ship through the eyes of the ship's cook, Mikkel. He's a young innocent with a wife and child back home in Denmark. His humdrum routine ends in an instant when gun-toting goons force the small crew into the hold and point rifles at their heads. Mikkel falls into a state of numbed shock as his every move is monitored by an aggressive young pirate who takes pleasure in jabbing him with his gun barrel. My stomach tied itself into knots, and I was in a state of anxiety for the remainder of the movie. At times I felt like I was on the ship, because the events were so realistically depicted.

Thousands of miles away, the CEO of the company, a shrewd negotiator with a strong sense of personal responsibility for the crew, ignores the advice of the hired hostage expert and insists on handling the negotiations himself rather than handing the duty over to a professional pirate negotiator. The effort of trying to solve the life-or-death crisis happening on the other side of the world and negotiating with unreliable actors puts intense strain in the CEO. As the negotiation drags on for weeks, and then months, the CEO is put under even more pressure by the company's board, who feel he is neglecting his other duties as the chief officer of the corporation.

The acts of violence in A Hijacking are few. This Danish-made movie is the opposite of a Hollywood blockbuster. If this had been a Tom Cruise style movie about a modern-day pirate hijacking, you could expect at least a half-dozen depictions of suicidal derring-do, 50 deaths, a fiery explosion, and an unrealistic love story. A Hijacking has none of these, and it's more powerful because of it. None of the actors look like movie stars. They aren't particularly good-looking, and their reactions to the events ring true. It's the best movie I've seen this year, and probably the best movie I've seen in the last few years. Watch the trailer below.

Notable Replies

  1. Well at least he has good trigger discipline.

  2. Does it go into why the Somalis took up piracy? Or are they just generic goons?

  3. Sovereignty and environmental protection

    The former UN envoy for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has stated that "because there is no (effective) government, there is ... much irregular fishing from European and Asian countries,"[119] and that the UN has what he described as "reliable information" that European and Asian companies are dumping toxic and nuclear waste off the Somali coastline.[120] However, he stresses that "no government has endorsed this act, and that private companies and individuals acting alone are responsible."[120] In addition, Ould-Abdallah told the press that he approached several international NGOs, such as Global Witness, to trace the illicit fishing and waste-dumping. He added that he believes the toxic waste dumping is "a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster (for) the Somali environment, the Somali population", and that what he terms "this illegal fishing, illegal dumping of waste" helps fuel the civil war in Somalia since the illegal foreign fishermen pay off corrupt local officials or warlords for protection or to secure counterfeit licenses.[119] Ould-Abdallah noted that piracy will not prevent waste dumping:

    I am convinced there is dumping of solid waste, chemicals and probably nuclear (waste).... There is no government (control) and there are few people with high moral ground[...] The intentions of these pirates are not concerned with protecting their environment. What is ultimately needed is a functioning, effective government that will get its act together and take control of its affairs.
    —Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia[120]

    Somali pirates which captured MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and military hardware, accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and declared that the $8m ransom for the return of the ship will go towards cleaning up the waste. The ransom demand is a means of "reacting to the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years", Januna Ali Jama, a spokesman for the pirates said. "The Somali coastline has been destroyed, and we believe this money is nothing compared to the devastation that we have seen on the seas."[120]

    These issues have generally not been reported in international media when reporting on piracy.[121][122] According to Muammar al-Gaddafi, "It is a response to greedy Western nations, who invade and exploit Somalia’s water resources illegally. It is not a piracy, it is self defence."[123]

    Pirate leader Sugule Ali said their motive was "to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters ... We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas." Also, the independent Somali news-site WardherNews found that 70 percent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country's territorial waters".[124]

  4. It feels real because they used actual people & locations involved in the real incident, check these quotes from the LA Times
    The scenes shot in Copenhagen take place in the offices of the shipping company Clipper Group; one of their security specialists who has been involved in resolving real-life hijackings plays a negotiator. The ship used in the film, the MV Rozen, was itself hijacked in 2007.

    To build the tension for the scenes in the Clipper Group offices, Lindholm would leave his actors in their small situation room without any idea when the phone would ring to begin the scene, sometimes letting them wait for hours. Likewise, while filming on the Rozen he would sometimes lock Asbaek and other cast members in a small cabin for hours on end, even releasing a jar of flies into the room.

  5. The movie was made before the actual incident ended.

    The two real people got home this year 2013.

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