'A Hijacking' Review: Sly Corporate Critique Sails Sans Fireworks

Anyone who found the new Tom Hanks film Captain Phillips too conventional should consider the new to Blu-ray import A Hijacking.

The Danish film doesn't involve an elite team of Navy SEALs saving the day. Instead, it's up to corporate negotiators to bring the crew home safely. Suffice to say critics feasted on the film and its sly business bashing--it currently boasts a 96 percent "fresh" rating at Rottentomatoes.com.

The film earns its accolades, even for those who dislike corporate skewering. All message movies should be so slick in their presentation.

Had A Hijacking came from a Hollywood studio, its business critiques would likely be highlighted, underlined and circled. In the hands of Danish director Tobias Lindholm, the storytelling is sneakier and less overt, but the message remains the same.


The film follows a similar start to Hanks' latest feature. A blue-collar crew is overwhelmed by Somali pirates who call the Indian Ocean their watery office. The invaders want to squeeze a big payment out of the corporation in charge of the ship. Instead of Hanks playing the wiley Captain Phillips, we have a scruffy cook (Pilou Asbæk) desperate to return to his wife and child. He's no hero in the traditional movie sense, just a working stiff who stepped onto the wrong boat.

The story similarities more or less end here. In Captain Phillips, the tension revolved around Hanks' character attempting to thwart the pirates' every move. Here, the pirates and crew bond over a lack of resources and a shared hope that the corporate negotiators can strike a deal before too long.

It's those chilly back and forths between the pirates and the corporate big wigs which represent the crew's slim chances for rescue. It's all about dollars and cents, we learn. The CEO (Soren Malling) insists the pirates are no match for his negotiating skills.

What emerges is a mental chess match, one that exposes the company as being just as concerned about their bottom line as the lives in play. A Hijacking doesn't depict the company's key players as callous to the possible deaths of the crew members, but at the same time it's clear their safety is only part of their financial equation.

The Blu-ray edition includes five featurettes focusing on cast interviews as well as chats with the experts who helped shape the film's finely honed narrative.


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