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A Hijacking

Official Selection - Toronto, Venice

They’re the scourge of the high seas, modern day pirates who hijack commercial vessels for ransom — in recent years, predominantly from lawless Somalia. Many countries have been affected, including Denmark and that’s clearly that’s the inspiration behind Danish writer/director Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking, a finely spun tale that eschews sensationalism to focus on the human toll on the captives, their families and their employers back home. The MV Rozen, with a crew of seven, is heading for Mumbai on an uneventful journey until the ship is captured by pirates who cannily wait a few days before even acknowledging they control the ship and begin the long, tedious but tension-filled process of negotiating a pay-off. “Time is a Western thing — it means nothing to them (Somali pirates),” cautions Connor Julian (played by Gary Skjoldmose Porter), an experienced negotiator brought in by company CEO Peter Ludvigsen to provide advice. The story centres on the ship’s cook, Mikkel (played by Pilou Asbaek), a bearded, paunchy and unglamorous protagonist desperate to return to his wife and child and company CEO Peter Ludvigsen (played by Pilou Asbaek), who struggles to shoulder the burden of freeing the crew as the pressure mounts from their families, the pirates and his corporate masters. Both performances are solid, a combination of understatement and intensity, drawing the audience empathetically into their individual plights. Also worthy of mention is Abdihakin Asgar’s textured portrayal of Omar, the increasingly desperate negotiator for the pirates, who thunders: “Don’t talk to me like I’m one of them.” Lindholm ratchets up the tension incrementally as the weeks pass and both sides play a cat-and-mouse game of offers and counter-offers. Meanwhile, the privations of the crew increase. They’re kept mostly below decks and denied access to toilets and showers even as food stocks and hope dwindle. Tragedy is in the wind but, to his credit, Lindholm’s script never resorts to melodrama. Instead, A Hijacking is memorable for its exploration of a modern evil, strong performances and a dedication to realism. Courtesy: Bruce Demara, Toronto Star Official Trailer

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Directed by: 
Tobias Lindholm
Running Time: 
English and Danish with English Subtitles
Amalie Ihle Alstrup, Johan Philip Asbæk, Ole Dupont, Søren Malling, Roland Møller, Abdihakin Asgar
Screenplay by: 
Tobias Lindholm

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