A Hijacking - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Hijacking Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 6, 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.
Super Reviewer
December 4, 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.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2013
Very good Drama, A Hijacking is a riveting film about what goes when a ship is high jacked by pirates and how the company tries to negotiate the release of its crew by agreeing to the pirates demands. Following the crew and the heads of the company who own the ship, the story is a back and forth game agreeing on a deal for the ships release. Brilliantly shot, acted and directed, A Hijacking is really a movie told in subtlety. The plot is simple, yet engaging, gripping and tense. If you're going into this film expecting a film like Captain Phillips, you'll sadly be disappointed as this film isn't an action drama, like that film. This movie is more of a take on the negotiations with pirates to safely release the crew, so it's not action film, but nonetheless it is a fine picture that boasts a riveting story. What really does stand out in the film is the acting. I thought the cast were very good in their parts and the actor who played the cook was very good, and brought the despair of the hostage situation in a way that really stood out. A Hijacking is a terrific picture, one that will keep you involved from start to finish. Although different, A Hijacking is memorable drama film that should be seen by anyone that enjoys a well structured drama. This is a riveting picture that chronicles the ordeal of coming under a piracy-hostage situation perfectly. Even if Captain Phillips was an action packed, riveting thriller, this picture is equally as stunning, but is more subtle in showing the ordeal of the crew and it works well, because A Hijacking is a fine movie that is constantly riveting and doesn't falter.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2013
Negotiations that wager a person's life are the kind of experience that are not made into films enough. Such a subject to be adapted as a film can hit a little too closely at home for some. "A Hijacking" does just that becoming a film that immerses you dead center in its desolate situation.

A Hijacking is about the crew of a Danish cargo ship being hijacked by Somali pirates who proceed to engage in escalating negotiations with authorities in Copenhagen. The plot of the film is a difficult one to analyze. On one hand nothing much happens in it. The synopsis I wrote is nearly all that occurs in the film. It has a subplot focusing on one specific crew member turmoil in not seeing his family while being hostaged, but contributes little when established the entire crew have family being worried about them. In hindsight giving one specific crew member some focus has no contribution in drawing the viewer doing nothing significant with it focused character. Another noticeable flaw is the lack of character development. We're not talking a specific character, but rather every single individual comes of as a caricature of human behavior. You won't find a character here worth sympathizing for.

On the other hand the plot perfectly enables it to become atmospheric. Making you uncertain, isolated, and most important of all hopeless. It dares not bother to bring into question how much is a man life worth, but the cost of doing so for everyone involve. Is the reward worth the endeavors and at the end has anyone accomplished anything? It provides the answer no matter how difficult it might be to accept. Its portrayal is distinctively real having no definite hero nor a definite villain. It avoids the easy route of painting a real life problem in black and white. The Somali pirates are as much of a victim in their hijacking as their hostages. Sacrificing and enduring just as much as the crew and their negotiators. Presenting them as people trying to survive as just much as everyone involved. Everything comes full circle in its final twenty minute making one very powerful commentary on violence, failed negotiation that prolong torture on all sides, and can a number actually determine the worth of a life.

Director Tobias Lindholm is a filmmaker if you're not familiar with should keep on your radar. Lindholm direction perfectly captures the bleakness of the mood, immerses the viewer, and evokes thoughts. Lindholm made a wise decision to not have subtitles in every single scene where the actors are speaking in their Somali native language. Unless you know the language this techniques work in putting us in the position of the crew. We could only guess what exactly the Somali pirates are saying. Actor Johan Philip Asbaek brings a performance that hinted ones delivered by Leonardo DiCaprio. We watch Johan Philip Asbaek decay in mind and body and can almost smell the sweat and fear on him. His resolve evaporates and he clings to any hope or kindness even though it comes from his tormentors. He gets across these emotions perfectly being the film standout performance. The only other standout is from Gary Skjoldmose-Porter whose acting prowess jars at times, but he improvises as the actors around him play their own parts in the crisis adds a certain depth and reality.

A Hijacking doesn't evolve much from its setup, but it absorb the viewer making it commentary hit hard. The direction is the most impressive feat accomplishing much more than one might expect from such a simple premise. "A Hijacking" is a film that will provide thought and leave a lasting impression after it ends.
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2013
In "A Hijacking," Mikkel(Pilou Asbaek) is a cook who has the tough job that to inform his wife Maria(Amalie Ihle Alstrup) that he will be returning home to Denmark a couple of days later than originally promised due to having to train a new cook when they dock in Mumbai. As fate will have it, that new date turns out to be wildly optimistic when the cargo ship he is working on is hijacked by pirates, sending Peter(Soren Malling), the CEO, into action, after cutting into Lars(Dar Salim), a subordinate, for not consulting with him sooner on a tricky negotiation.

"A Hijacking" is a riveting and harrowing movie that makes great use of its limited point of view in creating as natural a style as possible which makes events ring true. Outside of the obvious empathy for the sailors, things are not as clear cut as originally supposed, as relations between the sailors and their captors shift and blur, with Omar(Abdihakin Asgar), the pirates' negotiator, trying to exploit the high emotions to his advantage but Peter is having none of it. As the movie has a very neat way of introducing characters, Peter is quickly established as somebody you never want to play poker against. However, that doesn't mean he is completely soulless but which way his emotions go is clearly up for debate. In any case, I think he takes bad advice from Connor Julien(Gary Skjoldmose Porter), a security expert who while right about the goats is wrong about the pirates not having the same sense of time as they do which Omar would also disagree with, which leads Peter to low ball the pirates, leading one to wonder what exactly the price of a human life is.
Super Reviewer
½ May 20, 2013
Danish cargo ship, MV Rozen, is sailing through the Indian Ocean when a gang of Somali pirates seize the vessel. News quickly reaches the company offices in Copenhagen where the decision is made to bring in an outside adviser, Connor Julian (Porter), an Englishman with experience in dealing with pirates. Julian suggests the best course is to hire a professional negotiator but company C.E.O Peter Ludvigsen (Malling) ignores his advice and insists on handling matters himself. When an initial cash offer fails to satisfy the demands of the hijackers, the situation escalates.

Lindholm was responsible for writing duties on last year's excellent 'The Hunt', and here takes his sophomore directorial bow, proving himself something of a master of tense, yet realistic, drama. For a long time, Danish cinema was associated with the extravagances of film-makers like Lars Von Trier and Nicholas Winding Refn, but a new wave of gritty realism is sweeping the country's cinematic landscape. 'A Hijacking' is the first of two movies we'll see in 2013 dealing with this topic, as Paul Greengrass' Tom Hanks vehicle, 'Captain Phillips', is due later this summer. I'm not going out on much of a limb by theorizing Lindholm's film will be the more subtle of the two, as it's an underplayed, yet all the more tense for it, realistic piece of high drama.

It would have been all too easy to make the Peter character the villain and portray him as someone who cares more about the company coffers than the lives of his workers. Lindhom resists this, making Peter a reluctant hero. Malling is fantastic in the role, an actor with the ice cold exterior of a future Bond villain, and one I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of, outside of his homeland. As the situation escalates from weeks to months, his calm exterior slowly and subtly breaks down; there are no Hollywood histrionics on display here. The entire ensemble are thoroughly convincing as real characters, dealing with a horrific scenario in their own unique ways.
'A Hijacking' is another quality piece of drama from a country punching above its weight.
Super Reviewer
½ January 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'.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2013
Very realistic feeling thanks to concerning itself not just with a hijack situation on board the vessel but the mundanity inherent in the excruciating negotiations, replete with phone call voice delays and fax machines. This is an extremely well directed and naturalistically acted piece.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2013
A powerful drama, with such a torturous slow moving pace, it does reflect the tedious and straining issue at hand quite effectively. The capture of a Danish vessel and the aftermath of negotiations, violence and suffering is not overdone, yet retains its velocity as a drama and thriller on a personal level of survival, doubt and responsibility. The performances are refreshingly authentic and to the point - something that world cinema can do for you, if you are used to the blatant depiction of human conditions in the style of Hollywood. Especially Soren Malling is a great measuring stick of the film's underlying tension and the situation as a whole. By using the minimalist approach of contrasting light and darkness and respective auras of freedom and captivity, the director is able to conduct a minute symphony of nerve-wrecking pianissimo. Very recommended.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2013
A film where none of the characters can seem to figure out how to help themselves or each other. The title leaves no surprise to what will unfold, and the writer and director fall far short of impressing us with any sense of wit. If you're looking for a smart movie, look elsewhere. "The Last King of Scotland" and "Argo" are far more dynamic films in the "hostage genre" that do a much better job of leaving an indelible mark on their audience.
December 3, 2015
Staying clear of black-and-white reasoning opting to keep a human honesty A Hijacking creates a great atmosphere in spite of its shoddy camera work, but as the movie is largely straightforward and without many twist or surprises the film drags on to the point that suspense and attention will be lost.
½ September 7, 2015
9/7/15 Netflix
A Danish Captain Philips but even more intense. Great story, well acted with a shocking ending. Psychologically taut from both the CEO's perspective and the crew held hostage perspective. This was a great movie.
½ October 19, 2014
Much slower and less showy then its Hollywood counterpart (as expected). It stays interesting even though it is drawn out and less suspenseful. European films sometimes go to far to set themselves apart from Hollywood and this film takes that concept a little to far in my opinion. It has a few good scenes especially a great fishing scene as well as some likable and hateable characters.
½ August 24, 2014
felt like an anti-action film-and that was terrific. the omission of the actual hijacking ensured a psychological journey as opposed to one replete with violence and shooting. the tension was terrific, and i frequently found myself incredibly nervous even during the most modest of delays during their conversations. very good.
½ April 20, 2014
A Hijacking- the other Somali pirate movie of the 2013- is very intriguing, but it does not have the overwhelming sense of tension helped make Captain Phillips the stirring movie it is. Only so much suspense can come from watching multiple scenes of two guys bargaining over the phone. However, the lack of tension is substituted by a stronger emotional understanding of the characters and the wide ranging long term effects of a traumatizing event such as a piracy hijacking.
March 28, 2014
Ultimately a film about the nature of value and how the universal meanings we place onto it can either be a gift to the soul or a robbery of the soul.
½ July 7, 2013
Tobias Lindholm's approach in A Hijacking is rigged with a grisly authenticity and is at its finest in the negotiation room.
January 30, 2014
A hijacking has everything it needs to be a great film but too much of it doesn't make any sense and it drags on. Why would the pirates be friendly?
½ January 19, 2014
Unlike that Tom Hanks film, this movie isn't going for thrills at every moment. Rather we see a pirate hijacking portrayed as a long ,tedious & violent business transaction where the stakes couldn't be higher
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