DVD: Hijacking, A / Kapringen (2012)

December 20, 2013 | By

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Film: Excellent/ DVD Transfer: Very Good/ DVD Extras: n/a

Label: VSC / Region: 1 (NTSC) / Released: October 22, 2013

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: A shipping CEO attempts to handle negotiations for the return of his men from Somali pirates.

Special Features:  n/a

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Review:

Tobias Lindholm, one of the main writers of the hit Danish series Borgen, recently branched out to feature films, and the results have been two uniquely crafted critical successes. Both The Hunt / Jagten and A Hijacking / Kapringen were released in 2012, and the latter is a timely drama about a shipping vessel snatched by Somali pirates en route to their final destination in India.

Instead of an action film or dramatic tale of heroism and dignity under extreme duress, Hijacking, in perhaps typical Danish fashion, focuses on the little details – specifically more discrete elements which slowly drive pirates, hostages, and the CEO of the shipping firm into deep despair. The finale doesn’t offer a cathartic, winning solution, and like The Killing / Forbrydelsen, no one emerges emotionally unscarred.

Most of the drama fixates on terribly lengthy negotiations, with each strategic move causing more grief for the hostages who must contend with an abusive if not mentally unsound gunman; a negotiator insulted each time he’s branded a pirate; and the Danish CEO, Peter Ludvigsen (Soren Malling), who takes on the negotiations against the advice of his British advisor and treats the entire ransom dealing as a corporate merger or acquisition of overvalued assets. (His wife’s visitations soon prove infuriating, as she too pretends her husband’s long hours at the office are just another round of epic negotiations.)

As months drag on, everyone soon realizes they’re enmeshed in a disastrous situation, and back in Denmark the corporate decree is Everything is Being Handled. When questioned about the negotiations after 2 months, Ludvigsen repeats “Fine,” even though he’s aware his men are suffering from lack of food, shelter, and proper hygiene. The ambiguity of Lindholm’s moral stance means there’s no clear villain, which is quite a feat considering the potential to devolve several characters into straight stereotypes.

A small film with a fine cast – Malling (the CEO), Pilou Asbaek (the ship’s cook), and the CEO’s assistant (Dar Salim) were regulars on BorgenA Hijacking presents a less inflammatory depiction of greed, and unlike the similar themed Captain Phillips (2013), is more about what emerges during prolonged periods of despair than physical conflict with a more heroic and uplifting finale.

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© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

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