This article was originally published in FilmInk magazine
Passing on any overwrought attempts at drama, Danish director Tobias Lindholm instead relies on superb technicality and his watertight script for the high seas and high stakes thriller, A Hijacking. Detailing the turbulent negotiations between Somali pirates and the CEO of the titular hijacked vessel, the film carefully avoids any semblance of a dramatic approach to the subject material. A Hijacking is the perfect embodiment of 'show don't tell' storytelling. The film progresses organically, masterfully maintaining a pervading and constant sense of dread for its entire run-time; a sense only heightened through the clever use of a day counter. The narrative focusses on the growing volatility of its characters, which are brought to life through wonderfully restrained performances from leading men, Pilou Asbæk and Søren Malling. Cutting between the increasingly claustrophobic Asbæk and the beleaguered Malling, A Hijacking displays some of the most effective documentary-style camerawork in recent years. The frame is constantly in motion but - just like a ship at sea - it feels almost rhythmic and natural. The beautiful cinematography holds an unbearable sense of urgency in every frame and breathes life into what might have otherwise been an overly dreary script. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the film is its treatment of violence. Though it happens largely off-screen, Lindholm artfully toys with the expectation of violence and deviously subverts any preconceived ideas to terrifying effect. Lindholm is perhaps most famous for his membership to the Dogme 95 movement, which also featured the likes of controversial European auteurs Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. The bare bones, no-nonsense style of the movement is clear in A Hijacking and Lindholm's refusal to pander to the audience with gimmicky production hooks makes for a uniquely devastating experience. A Hijacking is powerfully affecting, brilliantly executed and despite its overlong run-time, damn-near perfect.