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A Hijacking (2013)



Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 106
Fresh: 101 | Rotten: 5

A tense, gripping thriller, A Hijacking avoids action movie cliches and instead creates a palpable sense of dread by mixing gritty realism with atmospheric beauty.


Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 28
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 1

A tense, gripping thriller, A Hijacking avoids action movie cliches and instead creates a palpable sense of dread by mixing gritty realism with atmospheric beauty.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 14,575

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Movie Info

The cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for harbour when it is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Amongst the men on board are the ship's cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk) and the engineer Jan (Roland Møller), who along with the rest of the seamen are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death. With the demand for a ransom of millions of dollars a psychological drama unfolds between the CEO of the shipping company (Søren Malling) and the Somali pirates. (c) Magnolia


Mystery & Suspense

Oct 15, 2013


Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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June 21, 2013:
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All Critics (106) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (101) | Rotten (5) | DVD (2)

It's an unshowy, quietly intense drama with grace notes in every scene -- and a hellish punch.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A high-seas hostage-taking and resulting negotiations are absorbingly dramatized in this low-key Venice standout from Denmark's hottest new writer-director.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A nail-biter of a thriller that eschews conventional thrills, Tobias Lindholm's verité-like tale of a Danish cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates is rivetingly low-key.

August 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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A finely spun tale that eschews sensationalism to focus on the human toll on the captives, their families and their employers back home.

August 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This isn't an action picture; it's a picture about the suspense and terror of inaction.

July 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gripping and tightly focused.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It aims to not allow you to leave the theater without empathizing with victims of such real-life violence. And that's what makes the film so memorable - and haunting.

April 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Captain Phillips revisited. How do you say 'I'm the captain now!' in Danish?

February 16, 2014
Baret News

Besides the subject matter, the parallels between Lindholm's sensitive, slow-moving A Hijacking and Paul Greengrass' relentless Captain Phillips are few and far between.

January 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Lindholm's insistence on a lived-in realism paid off.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Arts Fuse
Arts Fuse

A Hijacking refrains from exploiting or judging the situation, which reminds us that all of the characters think their behavior is justified. Whether any of them is right is left to us to decide.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A Hijacking achieves considerable power by avoiding the obvious, and staying close to its characters.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Suspense here is not created through pomp and explosions, but through watching a fishing crew caught at gunpoint. Through an incoming fax. Through exponentially growing beads of sweat.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

A tense and intricately shot drama, writer/director Tobias Lindholm's solo debut feature is a powerful and intensely watchable film.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

The film exposes the deep moral callousness of those doing the dealing, and the desperation of the people they break.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source:

Grim but well-executed gripping fictionalized hostage thriller.

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This is a taut, tense look into all sides of a hostage negotiation, as well as a hijacking situation. It is very precisely constructed.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

In his screenwriting, Tobias Lindholm has shown strong instincts for masculine melodrama and a knack for plot twists. As a director, though, he may still be getting his sea legs.

November 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

While the drama functions with a thriller's intensity, a cat-and-mouse game played with dollars and automatic weapons, it's really a study in contrasts.

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Yahoo! Movies
Yahoo! Movies

Lindholm's script presents the hijacking as a problem with no obvious solutions and harrowing human consequences.

October 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Seven Days
Seven Days

If only more movies could slip social messages into their stories as deftly as A Hijacking does.

October 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

Real tension in a film that puts its characters to the test

October 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Playing out as much in the boardrooms of the Danish parent company as it is on the cargo vessel itself, the film is a real eye-opener: when this stuff happens, there's no-one to call for help ... A Hijacking is an exercise in precise filmmaking.

October 16, 2013 Full Review Source: ABC Radio (Australia)
ABC Radio (Australia)

This is a film where we should be on the edge of our seat as we wait to see what will happen next. There are lives hanging in the balance, but from the way the situation is presented in the film, you'd hardly think that anything is wrong.

October 14, 2013 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for A Hijacking

Tobias Lindholm's A Hijacking is not your archetype action thriller. Interestingly the actual hijacking is absent in the final cut of the film, instead, Lindholm focuses more on the real situations ahead. The film is of two halves. On one half we see the hijacking through the eyes of the ships cook, we see his isolation, not knowing what will become of himself and the other crew members, the misery of being held captive at gun point etc. The other half is from the point of view of the owner of the ship being held captive, the one the ransom is focus on. Although safe in the comforts of his office in Copenhagen we see his isolation, not knowing what will become of his crew members, the misery of being held captive knowing their lives are at risk and the responsibilities that come from that etc. They are both in a near identical situation, both are being held at ransom. The conclusion is chillingly real and is a welcome antidote to the typical whooping of success at the end of most ransom movies. The differences are few, it's the attention to the similarities that is what is so clever about the film and make it the intriguing thriller it is, one of the best made in the last decade. Tobias Lindholm is a superb writer and I look forward to much more from him.
May 29, 2014

Super Reviewer

Somali pirates seize a Danish freighter and demand millions of dollars in ransom for safe return of the crew. This worthy companion to CAPTAIN PHILLIPS focuses equally on the experience of a hostage cook and the tense negotiations between the captors and the CEO of the freight company.
December 6, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

A nail-biting suspense story concerning a cargo ship that is hijacked by Somali pirates, and how the crew cope with their new found circumstances, while their bosses attempt to negotiate with an increasingly aggressive group of villains whose asking price to leave the ship is high. While not as effective and character building as "Captain Phillips", a movie with a very similar plot, the film's pacing and interweaving of many character's points of view is simply outstanding. The acting is uniformly superb, and the ending is shocking, heartbreaking, and unpredictable, all the things you would want in a movie like this. With a little more character development, especially concerning the pirates themselves (something 'Phillips' did remarkably well), this would be a great movie worthy of Oscar buzz. Still outstanding, and well worth seeing, although be warned, it is fairly depressing.
December 4, 2013
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

This film takes a very different and more understated route than the other Somalian pirate hijacking movie from this year, "Captain Phillips". Yet, despite the fact that "A Hijacking" often replaces the visceral action and suspense taking place on the boat with the stakes from the perspective of the company's CEO in a board room, it somehow winds up just as intense, if not more so. This success comes from the expertly told story, which emphasizes psychological stakes just as much as physical ones. A truly edge-of-your seat experience in the most unexpected of ways.
December 3, 2013
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Hijacking - Todesangst ... In der Gewalt von Piraten (DE)
  • A Hijacking (Kapringen) (UK)
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