A Hijacking - Blu-ray Review

'For a narrative involving the hijacking of a ship and the negotiations which follow for its release, A Hijacking is a film notably lacking in tension.'

Though good, there's a notable absence at the core of A Hijacking, which feels like it should have underpinned Tobias Lindholm's film. For a narrative involving the hijacking of a ship and the negotiations which follow for its release, A Hijacking is a film notably lacking in tension.

In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say that, at times, Lindholm's film feels surprisingly pedestrian. Split roughly evenly between events on the ship, mainly following cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk), and the negotiations conducted by the ship's owners, personalised by CEO Peter (Søren Malling), A Hijacking follows those two locations and groups of people over many days, dragging out the actions of the hijack until it is nearly devoid of action. Whilst this might feel at times like a fresh approach to things (it feels like it might be the opposite of the forthcoming Hollywood-ised hijack story, Captain Phillips) it also causes the film to drag, the emptiness of plot remaining unfilled by tension or intrigue.

Which isn't to say that it's not possible to note good film-making here, often and largely, throughout. By the final beats of Lindholm's film, you do feel as though you have been dragged on quite a harrowing journey, forced to witness the mental and physical breakdown of Mikkel and the psychological stress of Peter's part in the negotiations.

The ends and the means used by the shipping company to free the captive sailors feels wrong from the off, paired next to a deal Peter closes for many millions of dollars, just before he puts in a first offer to the pirates of just a few hundred thousand. It feels though, rather than being critical of capitalist greed, that Lindholm embarks on this journey partially to show how just such an event works logistically and how an initial distasteful dedication to saving money is actually necessary in saving life.

But the storytelling too often feels stilted and familiar in its execution to keep you fully engaged, not something you normally find when Lindholm is working with compatriot Thomas Vinterberg. The nasty/nice relationship of the captives and the pirates is something we've seen many times before and there are even several regular tropes for Thrillers on display here, for those who want to see them. When the film opens on Mikkel calling his wife and child, for example, seasoned film watchers will know almost everything there is to know about his place in this story from the off. It's surprising to see, from a film-making talent normally noted for his ability to pursue innovative ways of telling interesting stories.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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