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Film Review: Exhausting ‘A Hijacking’ Captures Waking Nightmare
CHICAGO – Tobias Lindholm’s “A Hijacking” is exhausting. It’s what could be called a Dogme thriller, a film that doesn’t use clichéd editing techniques, music cues, or exaggerated dialogue but focuses on a nightmarish situation from a realistic aesthetic. One forgets how American thrillers release their tension through the common techniques of the genre when presented with a film this bleak and dark. It’s an effective piece of work that will leave you longing for a shower, a nap, and a warm meal.
Those are the taken-for-granted elements of daily living that are stripped from cook Mikkel (the great Pilou Asbek) when his ship, the Rozen, is taken hostage by Somali pirates. He is kept alive to cook for the hostages and pirates but barely so, allowed no contact with his girlfriend and daughter and forced to prepare meals at gunpoint while listening to a language he doesn’t understand. Hearing an unknown language spoken angrily by men holding automatic weapons must be terrifying and Lindholm captures that claustrophobic nightmare. What if one of the guns goes off?
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “A Hijacking” in our reviews section.|
Only half of the narrative of “A Hijacking” takes place on the Rozen with Mikkel. The rest takes place in the bureaucratic nightmare of the conference rooms in which negotiations are underway, led by a truly egocentric creature named Peter (Soren Malling). The head of the company that owns the Rozen fights advice from negotiators, offers ridiculously low amounts of money to the hostage takers, and generally prolongs the torture, putting lives at risk in the process. And yet Lindholm, through a great performance by Malling, presents Peter not as the villain he would be in a sub-par Hollywood thriller. He believes he’s the one to get the men home and not bankrupt his company at the same time. It’s his responsibility to do both.
Photo credit: Magnolia