A Hijacking Blu-ray Review
On board the cargo ship MV Rozen, the crew is getting ready for a return to port. Among them is the ship’s cook, Mikkel (Asbaek). He has planned on seeing his wife and daughter for some time and smiles in anticipation of the reunion to come. Unfortunately the plans are altered when the ship is boarded and taken over by pirates. Their ransom demand: $15 million. Back in Copenhagen, Peter Ludvigsen (Malling), the CEO of the shipping company, decides to not use a professional negotiator for this situation. Assured by a consultant that these incidents are usually settled within a week, he makes a counter offer: $250 thousand. Is it any wonder that four months later the two sides are still negotiating?
Based on a true story and often gripping, A HIJACKING is much more than your standard “ransom” film. It is also a film dealing with right and wrong, which is the case on both sides of the story. While Peter insists on speaking for his company his counterpart, Omar (Abdihakin Asgar) takes great pains to let all involved that he is neither pirate nor captor. He is just there to translate…a middleman as it were. Apparently with this mindset Omar can sleep well at night. When he does sleep, Peter does it at the office. He has been told that he needs to deal with his head and not his heart and it is tough to watch the internal anguish that plays across his face with each decision he makes.
The cast does a fine job of portraying their circumstances. A lot of this comes from the fact that the film was shot in two locations: on the ship off Africa and in an office in Denmark. The actors never had a chance to work together or build up a camaraderie and that shows in the performances. As Peter, Malling is all business. He truly cares for his employees on the ship but his position ensures he must also look out for the finances of the company. Asbaek, who here resembles a much more husky Ewan McGregor, gets the opportunity to run the gamut of emotions – from the elation of knowing he’s going home to the anguish of knowing he may never go home again. The pirates themselves are fairly scary, though for some reason the filmmakers have decided not to subtitle their dialogue. The film is presented in a combination of Danish and English (Omar insists that all communications between he and Peter, and for that matter between Mikkel and Peter, be in English, assumingly because he does not speak Danish. It would be nice to know what the pirates are saying so if you speak Somali you are a step ahead of me. Still, they are able to get their menace across with grimacing faces and gestures with their weapons. Once the hijacking takes place the rest of the crew pretty much disappears, with only token attention given to the ship’s captain (he’s sick) and a mate of Mikkel’s who helps keep his morale up.
A HIJACKING BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the film has a documentary look to it. The colors inside the ship are muted while the occasional scenes on deck a quite bright.
Audio: Presented in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 As I noted above, the story is delivered in a combination of Danish and English with appropriate subtitles provided. The sound was fine, with the only complaint coming during the various phone calls between Copenhagen and the ship hundreds of miles away at sea. This could be a product of the director actually having these calls placed live – with the distance between the actors as far as implied in the film.
The only extras on the disc is a set of five (5) short featurettes which deal with various parts of the production:
Behind the Movie (2:10): A quick visit to both locations
The Director (3:44): Director Lindholm talks about the project and his insistence on using the real crew of the hijacked ship.
Research (3:14): This short bit features interviews with Per Gullestrup, CEO of a shipping company whose character is similar to the one featured in the film and Derrick Dharmakan, who was the captain of the ship.
The Chief Engineer (2:23): A conversation with actor Roland Moller, who plays the Chief Engineer of the ship on film and Juma Myita, the real life Chief Engineer of the MV Rozen. Among the tales, Rozen discusses actually being held hostage early in his seagoing career.
The Actors (2:49): A chat with stars Malling and Asbaek. Most revealing is when Malling recounts that he got so much into the character of the CEO that he found himself crying after he’d completed certain scenes.
Theatrical trailer: (2:02)