09/10/2013 13:42 BST | Updated 07/12/2013 05:12 GMT

DVD Review - How Will Hollywood's Blockbuster,'Captain Phillips' Compare With the Low Budget 'A Hijacking'?

The London Film Festival opens Wednesday 9 October with the Gala screening of 'Captain Phillips', Paul Greengrass's Hollywood big budget true story of Somali piracy. A live satellite link will simultaneously screen the European Premier to 30 UK towns and cities. That's big budget coverage.

Tobias Lindholm's 'A Hijacking', a 2012 Nordic low budget, intense, totally authentic and engrossing verite style film told a similar true story.



Director: Tobias Lindholm Cast: Pilou Asbaek, Soren Malling, Dar Salim, Abdihakin Asgar Genre: Drama Country of Origin: Denmark 2012 Language: Danish with English subtitles and English 103 mins. Rating:****

Gripping, exciting, powerful, intense and totally realistic.

A cargo ship, MV Rozen heading for harbour is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Amongst the seven man crew, Mikkel Hartmann (Pilou Asbaek) the ship's cook who speaks good English, is chosen by the pirates as the link to Peter Ludvigsen (Soren Malling) the CEO of the shipping company in Copenhagen and Omar (Abdihakin Asgar) the pirate's hired negotiator.

With the demand for a 15 million dollar ransom, a psychological drama unfolds between Peter Ludvigsen and Omar.


There's no Hollywood heroes coming to the rescue veneered doggy dentures gleaming in the sun and guns blazing. No incident room with screens aglow with satellite information and Navy Seals at the ready. No wide screen heroics. No musical score to hype up moments of tension. Just a no-frills authenticity.

'A Hijacking' focuses on the aftermarth - the excruciating four month stand-off with the psychological effect on all concerned, the seven man crew sharing quarters with twenty five pirates, shifting loyalties, brief acts of kindness horrifically used as leverage.


The hand-held cinematography gives a semi-documentary feel and the crew filmed in secret in the Indian Ocean on a once-hijacked freighter off the Somalian coast. The sense of realism was enhanced by using some non-actors - the shipping company's negotiator, Connor Julian (Gary Skjoldmose-Porter) is an actual hostage negotiator and four of the ship's crew were crew members of MV Rozen which was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2007.

Tobias Lindholm scripted the award winning 'The Hunt' alongside Thomas Vinterberg and various episodes of the TV series, 'Borgan' which with other the Nordic gems 'The Killing' and 'The Bridge' made for great Saturday night viewing.

'Captain Phillips', in the Oscar race for Best Actor, focuses on the relationship between the ship's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and his Somali counterpart, Muse (Barkhad Abdi) during the 2009 hijacking of the US flagged container ship MV Maersk Alabama by a group of Somali pirates.

It'll be interesting to see how it aligns with 'A Hijacking', writer-director Tobias Lindholm's low budget first solo directing effort - here the ship's cook Mikkel is the link to Peter Ludvigsen, the CEO of the shipping company and Omar, the pirates's negotiator.

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