A Hijacking begins as a Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The terrified crew are bullied and brutalised, and are obviously desperate to be released from their ordeal. Meanwhile, the CEO of the company – who fancies himself as something of a business negotiator – takes up the dealings with the Somali middleman, only to realise that nothing is quite as straightforward as it seems (and even accepting the pirates’ demands is, in fact, tantamount to putting his crew into mortal danger). And in the meanwhile, as negotiations draw out into weeks and then months, the Danish sailors are increasingly traumatised and diminished and abandoned and martyred.
So: it’s a thriller, yet there are no fight scenes, no chases, no subversive quips or attempts to repel the invaders or anxious countdowns against the clock. Instead, it’s a low octane burner that simmers with a careful, slow but nonetheless escalating dread. There’s tangible desperation, but it’s because it’s all passing soooooo slowly. The whole experience is further enhanced by the crackling authenticity of the production itself; A Hijacking filmed at sea and used actual satellite phones – complete with delays and distortions and abrupt disconnects – to communicate between the ship and the office in Copenhagen. Those are real reaction shots you’re seeing. There’s even a genuine hostage negotiator on the team, so no Hollywood style plasma screens and satellite tracking, but whiteboards and cokey pens and grim, practical advice. It’s pretty awesome actually, and though by no means an easy watch, it’s a really fascinating and disturbing experience.