A HIJACKING (Kapringen) (2013) – Review

“We can’t rush these people. Time is a Western thing. It means nothing to them.”


Tobias Lindholm‘s A HIJACKING (2013) takes viewers on a ride of extreme emotions. Delight and terror paired together as the uncertainty of the fate of the crew aboard the MV Rozen settles in with every passing scene. There is only sympathy for the helpless men aboard the vessel as negotiations between their CEO and the pirates escalate in tension. Visuals from the office and the ship offer a high contrast between the safety of the corporate environment of the boss and the negotiators and conditions the crew must endure. A Hijacking will not disappoint if you good suspense films.

The ship MV Rozen is captured by Somali pirates while in the Indian Ocean. Cook Mikkel Hartman (Johan Phillip Asbaek) and engineer Jan Sorensen (Roland Moller) are two of the eight crew members aboard attempting to stay alive while their boss Peter Ludvigsen (Soren Malling) negotiates with the pirates through a man named Omar Abdihakin Asgar. A reasonable ransom must be paid in order for these men to live.

A Hijacking begins with Mikkel speaking to his wife and stunning views of the Indian Ocean, setting the stage for his turmoil and worry that shall come later. Normal procedures at sea quickly turn into a terrifying situation as the pirates take control of the ship. The surprising and the great thing about this film is it does not take the Hollywood route of adding dramatic music and sensationalizing situations. The urgency of saving the lives of the crew is natural and unforced.

Unlike in most films, the pirates are not one-dimensional villains and this also makes them more unpredictable and scary. After being on the ship a number of days, Jan and Mikkel actually begin to have positive experiences with the pirates, notably with a man named Rashid. This shift between friend and foe raises the fear factor and further causes the viewer to want the men to be rescued. During the negotiation process,  it is easy to become frustrated along with Peter due to the head negotiator Connor’s (Gary Skjoldmose Porter) seemingly nonchalant efforts. However since he is the professional his word must be taken for at all times. It is amazing to watch as a powerful businessman negotiate his way into bigger financial returns only to realize that the same bargaining tactics does not work when the trade are human lives.

A Hijacking is an intense drama that keep viewer attention and keenly interested from start to finish.


A HIJACKING (2013) Special features include:

•  Behind the Movie
•  The Director
•  Research
•  The Chief Engineer
•  The Actors
•  Trailer

The behind the scenes featurettes go into how the MV Rozen cargo ship was really hijacked, how the other crew members were real hostages, and even how the film was shot in a part of the Indian Ocean where a ship was being held hostage not too far from where the crew was. Writer/director Lindholm went for ultra-realism for this project and it really shows. Armed guards were on board the ship during the filming process to prevent any incidents from arising at sea. The real captain and engineer of the MV Rozen give their experiences as well as CEO Per Gullestrup of the Clipper Group. He was also brought in and his company used for a real filming location. The actors are shown to be very proud of the work put into the film as well as their personal contributions to the project.

Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2013 of Magnolia Pictures. All rights reserved.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3 stars
  • Good

  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2013-11-19

Review Summary:

The crew of a Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates who proceed to engage in escalating negotiations with authorities in Copenhagen.

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