The highly anticipated Danish piracy drama, Kapringen (aka ‘A Hijacking’), premiered in Denmark over the weekend to rave reviews after a world premiere in Venice earlier this month and additional showings at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film, directed by Tobias Lindholm, is a psychological drama that tackles the surge in of piracy off the coast of Somalia and its effects on crews, shipowners, family’s, and even pirates. But, if you’re looking action flick about Somalia piracy, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
“It’s a European hijacking drama and a negotiation drama, and there’s a lot more psychological violence than real action,” Lindholm told Reuters in an interview. “The message is to try to show how complicated the situation is, and how far from cliche it is,” Lindholm added. “Nobody is really the villain. Everybody is doing the best they can, even the pirates.”
The film takes place on board the MV Rozen which is heading for harbor when it is boarded and hijacked by Somali pirates. Amongst the men onboard are the ship’s cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk) and the chief engineer Jan (Roland Møller) who, along with the rest of the crew, are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death. The pirates requirement for the ship’s company are clear: $ 15 million for the MV Rozen and it’s crew. From there the psychological drama unfolds between the CEO of a shipping company (played by Søren Malling), who is trying to negotiate a lower ransom while maintaining the safety of the crew, and the Somali pirates.
Although fictional and low-budget, the film was created with authenticity in mind. ‘A Hijacking’ was shot on location in the Indian Ocean on board the cargo ship MV Rozen. Lindholm and his film team recruited Somalis from Mombasa to play the pirates, along with real sailors, who had themselves fallen victim to Somali pirates, to play crew members. The film crew also hired a real-life security chief from a Danish shipping company to act as chief negotiator in the film. If the ship, MV Rozen, strikes a familiar chord it should. The Rozen itself and a crew of 12 fell victim to Somali pirates in 2007 after unloading food aid and equipment UN World Food Programme.
A HIJACKING is produced by Tomas Radoor and René Ezra for Nordisk Film Production with support from The Danish Film Institute, DR and Nordic Film & TV.