A Hijacking (Kapringen)

01/22/2017 14:54

Film: A Hijacking (Kapringen)

Year: 2012

Director: Tobias Lindholm

Writer: Tobias Lindholm

Starring: Pilou Asbӕk, Søren Malling and Dar Salim



This film begins on a large freighter. We see a man calling home in the bridge. He is played by Pilou Asbӕk. He is the cook on this ship. His wife is played by Amalie Ihle Alstrup and his daughter is played by Amalie Vulff Andersen. The captain enters, he is played by Keith Pearson, and Asbӕk ends his conversation. He goes below to make food.

We then shift to the head of the company that owns the ship we just saw. The CEO is who we follow and he is played by Søren Malling. What we learn about him is that he is up on everything and he’s a great negotiator. We learn that they need to finalize a deal with the Japanese by that day. Dar Salim works for Malling and he is handling the negotiation, but he’s at an impasse. Malling comes in and figures it out for a lot cheaper than what the Japanese were asking.

Everything comes to a screeching halt when the freighter gets boarded by Somalian pirates.

In the bridge, the pirates figure out who the captain is, the cook and another man. This means Pearson, Asbӕk and another man played by Roland Møller are taken below. Asbӕk is forced to make food for the pirates.

Back in Denmark, Malling learns of what happens. They call in a man to help them with the negotiations to bring the ship and the crew home, this man is played by Gary Skjoldmose Porter. Salim speaks with all the families, reassuring them that they will do everything they can to bring their loved ones home. Even Malling stands up and backs up what Salim says. Porter wants the company to bring another man in to do the negotiations, but Malling tells him that it is his company and he will do it.

Almost a week goes by before the demands are given to Malling. The pirates have hired a translator and negotiator; he is played by Abdihakin Asgar. He calls for Asbӕk and has him call Malling the first time. Porter knew something like this would happen and the game of negotiations begins.

Both sides go back and forth for months, the pirates giving a high number of $12 million and Malling gives the figure back of $500k. This is slow going and puts a lot of pressure on both sides. It takes days between them talking. What makes it tougher is the ship goes through its food faster with the added mouths and not moving. The three that were separated live in a room of their own filth and Pearson becomes ill.

It isn’t easy on Malling either. He still has a company to run while feeling the pressure of this situation along with the families of the hostages and the board of directors wanting him to turn the negotiations over to someone else.

The four month mark is when tension and tempers run the hottest. Asbӕk begins to think that Malling and the company do not care about him like Asgar told him. Malling does care about him, but he has to worry about the pirates taking his money and not doing what they are promising. Asgar uses every tactic he can to turn Asbӕk and get Malling to cave to their pressure.

What will happen? Will the both sides come to a figure that will be agreeable? Will the crew make it off the ship safely? Will they be able to hold out long enough before a deal is made? Or will the pirates get trigger happy from all of this tension? Will Malling be able to handle the pressure of the negotiations or turn it over to someone else?

I have to say that this film was very well done. I had seen Captain Phillips before I saw this one. Both are similar films with similar subject matter, but both take it in different ways. Where that one focuses on the captain, this one follows Malling who is the CEO of the company that owns the ship and the cook of it. You see that both are under similar pressure from different groups, but it isn’t all that different. I think this film does a great job at building tension as well.

Now the only thing I didn’t like about this film was that it does run a little bit slow. I think that is intentional though for what the film is doing. Negotiations are by nature boring and that is what the focal of this film is. This film also made me feel very anxious, which after it was all over, I’m glad it did.

I have added this as well to the horror film research, not because it is a horror film, but for the same reason I added Captain Phillips. This is one of the scariest situations for me to be in, which is trapped on a boat, in the open sea and being held hostage.

I would recommend this film if you want to see the deadly game of hostage negotiations. As I’ve said, this film isn’t super exciting as this takes up most of the time, but if this sounds interesting I would give it a chance. Part of the film is subtitled when they are speaking Danish, so keep that in mind before watching this. I would say this is definitely worth a viewing though.


My Rating: 7 out of 10