Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
“Political and economic factors have in recent years put international vessels traveling near the coast of Somalia at risk of capture by modern-day buccaneers… As harrowing as it is matter-of-fact, Tobias Lindholm’s thriller chronicles a fictive instance of this phenomenon in unerringly realistic terms.
A Danish cargo ship traversing the Indian Ocean is overpowered by volatile pirates who appear barely held in check by their multilingual spokesman Omar whose own agenda is nothing if not ambiguous. As long-distance ransom discussions drag on for months, back in Copenhagen the shipping firm’s CEO balances conscience with the hardball tactics of a hired professional negotiator (Gary Skjoldmose Porter, who has actually performed this function in real life). Meanwhile tempers fray, despair sets in and at least one hostage grows seriously ill.
While recent fact-based political thrillers like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty have been praised for their realism, Lindholm’s film puts that acclaim in context – those movies seem conventional pop entertainments alongside this gritty, quasi-vérité fiction. A Hijacking captures the grueling, dispiriting, claustrophobic tedium of such life-threatening captivity. Yet it’s a seldom less than nail-biting exercise in suspense.” — Dennis Harvey, San Francisco International Film Festival
“The tale has a consistent edge, be it in scenes of war-room strategizing or random moments of camaraderie shared by captives and captors that, regardless of outward joy, are like the rest of the film laced with volatile, lethal danger.” — Nick Schager, slantmagazine.com