Movie Review: 'A Hijacking' -- 3 stars
Directed by Tobias Lindholm
Starring Pilou Asbaek, Søren Malling
In Danish with English subtitles
Playing at Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza
“A Hijacking” observes the process surrounding a complicated hostage negotiation after the seizure of a Danish cargo vessel by Somali pirates.
Writer-director Tobias Lindholm dispenses with grandiose gestures for a movie derived out of the small moments that collectively comprise this difficult process, with the lives of the men on board hanging in the balance.
So the film intercuts between scenes on the ship, which are centered on chef Mikkel (Pilou Asbaek) as he tries to mollify the attackers, and sequences inside the shipping company’s Copenhagen boardroom, where executive Peter (Søren Malling) engages in tense talks with the pirates’ negotiator.
The movie is awash in fear, but it takes great pains to avoid painting the pirates as cartoon villains. Still, as food runs out and the stalemate wears on, the line between life and death grows thin.
The most impressive filmmaking and acting in “A Hijacking” is done in the Copenhagen headquarters, where Peter engages in a complicated hybrid of honest talks and deceptive misdirection with his counterpart on the ship.
Lindholm scripts conversations that rise and fall in tone, shifting from amiability to anger and desperation at a moment’s notice. His camera resolutely focuses on Peter’s face and physical demeanor, as the character experiences a moral crisis that is in its own way every bit as drastic as the mortal danger facing the men he’s trying to save.