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Film Spotlight: A Hijacking

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While A Hijacking, a thriller about a group of Somalian pirates who want millions of dollars in order to release a Danish cargo ship, isn't based on a true story, it certainly could have been. It mirrors reality so closely that it could practically pass a documentary. The film thrives on the tension that emerges as the higher-ups in the Danish company that owns the boat enter negotiations with the thugs.

After the boat is hijacked, company CEO Peter Ludvigsen (Søren Malling) decides to take matters into his own hands and negotiate with the pirate leader Omar (Abdihakin Asgar). A real prick, Omar regularly maintains, "I'm not a pirate," even though he's the one who tells Peter the pirates want $15 million for the return of the freighter and crew. Peter counters with an offer of $500,000. Negotiations drag on for two months and conditions on the boat get worse as the crew, sequestered to a small space, isn't even permitted to use the ship's toilet. The pirates slowly kill off the crew members, leaving only the cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk) and a handful of others.

Writer-director Tobias Lindholm successfully contrasts the chaos on the ship with the austere company headquarters where shareholders in suits try to figure out how they retrieve their ship without breaking the bank. The negotiations, which take place via phone and fax, are nerve-wracking and tedious as nothing's glamorized in this fine film. The movie opens on Friday at the Capitol Theatre.

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