A Hijacking

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 112


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,935
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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

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Critic Reviews for A Hijacking

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for A Hijacking

  • Jan 23, 2014
    I get this feeling that, somehow, I'm gonna end up liking this movie better than Captain Phillips. While I have no doubt that Captain Phillips is gonna be a great movie, it looks like a very Hollywood-ized version of the real life story, and that means a little more bombast and some dramatic liberties are taken in order to ensure that the film is whatever they want it to be, whether it be inspiring, heartbreaking, etc. I can tell that it's probably gonna be a little more manipulative in comparison to this one. What I liked about this movie is the restraint, and the quiet intensity, it shows in its portrayal of this hijacking. It pretty much avoids every cliche by refusing to show, what would be in other films, the most important part of the film. The hijacking actually happens off screen, you don't get to see any of it. And that's not the only important 'scene' that happens off screen, this happens at least 2 or 3 times. I realize it may not sound like much, but these would be incredibly crucial scenes in other movies, so to see the film show that restraint and yet, still, tell an incredibly compelling and gripping story makes the film even more impressive. The film definitely prides itself in its realism and gritty portrayal of this hostage situation. I have no idea if this is how it plays out in real life, but I'm sure it's closer to real life than most films would like. Because of that, I think some people may not find this movie compelling because the negotiations themselves aren't "entertaining" in the traditional sense where a suspenseful score plays during the negotiations, and the people are pacing back and forth, nervous and sweating, demanding that the hostage-takers release the people. This movie isn't like that, at all. Again, this goes back to the film's quiet intensity and I think this approach definitely works wonders in this film. The film's ending, for instance, has much more power and impact because they don't try to manipulate you into feeling what they want you to feel. The ending is emotionally exhausting. While it's certainly a sad state of affairs, especially after EVERYTHING the crew went through for 130-something days, you really are just exhausted and, somehow, I believe that that was the intention. You can't believe what just happened, but at the same time it doesn't really surprise you because there is that sense of dread that, even though the hostages were released, anything could, and in this case did, happen. What happened was pretty much the worst case scenario. Or at least one of them, as I believe it could've been much worse. And the film does a good job at portraying sort of the, and tedium perhaps isn't the right word, but the boredom of being in this situation for over 4 months. It gets to the point where some of the crew even gets to be friendly with the pirates. And it only seems natural that this might happen in a case like this. The film also does a great job at selling the psychological toll this must have had on Mikkel, especially with what happened at the end. Mikkel's life is never gonna be the same again, even if he came out of this situation relatively unharmed. Hell even Peter, the CEO of the company that Mikkel worked for, will have to live with this on his conscience, even if he did everything right in securing his men's safe release. The acting reflects the film's style, it's quiet and understated. It reflects what, I believe, would be most people's reactions when put in the same situation. Soren Malling, Peter, does a great job at keeping things calm and collected and not letting himself get emotionally attached as it might screw up the negotiations, but it's clear that the stress of not being able to get his men home keeps building each day of negotiations until he finally explodes during one of his conversations with the pirates and how that almost cost the life of one of his men. He comes across a shrewd businessman, but he's legitimately trying to do his best to get his men home, even if he doesn't show it. And the actor who played Mikkel, Johan Philip Asbaek, does a great job as well selling the desperation a man in his situation must feel, being away from his wife and his daughter for that long of a time, not even knowing if he'll get out of this situation alive. I was a big fan of this movie, it's definitely a little more demanding but the quietly gripping story and realistic performances make this movie worth watching.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 16, 2014
    Director Lindholm, a graduate of the Dogma school, creates such immense tension without the use of time-watching techniques and other on-screen antics prominent in other hijacking films, in an absorbing and carefully woven thriller that focuses on emotion as seen from the eyes of one victim (the chef) and the CEO of the shipping company. It must also be noted that the very same guy, in the capacity of a screenwriter penned two of my favourite films of 2013, this one and 'The Hunt'.
    Nicolas K Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2013
    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.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2013
    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.
    Dan S Super Reviewer

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