A Hijacking is a hard-hitting Danish film on a subject most of us know little about, and tend to forget if we can. Any hijacking is bad, and Somali pirates seem to be working at the worst end of it.
When shipping CEO Peter decides to do his own negotiating after one of his cargo ships is hijacked, he does so against the advice of English advisor Connor, who nevertheless is beside Peter every step of the way. And it’s a long way.
As a counterbalance to the well-dressed powerful men in Copenhagen, we have Mikkel, the ship’s cook. He is no hero, but he is brave in the face of this sudden violence and cruelty. He begs his boss to pay the ransom, and he begs the pirates’ ‘negotiator’ for food and kindness and fresh air.
It’s heartbreaking to see the dirty struggle on board, and to see how they are trying to do a good job in Denmark. When Peter wanders off script one day, it ends with a shot at the other end. You can almost see the thoughts in this powerful man’s head as he realises his actions may have cost someone their life.
And still, we have already seen him being the hard negotiator in a ‘normal’ business deal, so why feel sorry for him?
You can tell it has to end reasonably well for most of the characters, but the situation is so tense, you must also be aware that for some it can’t end well. Who, and how?
The Danes seem naïve a lot of the time. It’s easy to be like that, when you’re nice and safe. But the Somalis are also naïve in some way, believing that there is any amount of money to be had in return for freeing people who shouldn’t have been held hostage in the first place.
In a way, not a lot happens. But you sit transfixed by what’s going on. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s say that I would have expected the men’s beards to have grown much longer while this situation lasted.
Now that we are on such intimate terms with so many Danish actors, it was good to see Borgen’s Kasper as Mikkel, and Sarah Lund’s first detective partner Meyer as Peter.
(At Cornerhouse until 16th May)
Below is an interview on Danish television with Gary Skjoldmose Porter, who not only plays the British expert in the film, but is a British expert outside the film as well.