Hijacking, A (Kapringen) (2012)

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Released 19-Mar-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Madman Propaganda x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 99:01
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tobias Lindholm

Madman Entertainment
Starring Soren Malling
Pilou Asbaek
Roland Moller
Keith Pearson
Adbihakin Asgar
Gary Skjaldmose Porter
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Hildur Gudnadottir

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Danish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Danish cargo vessel MV Rozen is hijacked by Somali pirates off the African coast who demand a ransom of $15 million for the return of the ship and the crew of seven. CEO of the shipping company Peter Ludvigsen (Soren Malling) negotiates with Somali spokesperson Omar (Adbihakin Asgar) by telephone and fax from Copenhagen, guided by hijacking expert Connor Julian (Gary Skjaldmose Porter). Porter had counselled Ludvigsen against being the negotiator, recommending an independent negotiator be used to avoid any emotional involvement that may jeopardise any deal and put the crew in danger, but Ludvigsen believes it is his men and his ship and so he ignores the advice. Meanwhile on board the Rozen as the negotiations drag on and on into a fourth month, the ship’s cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbaek), engineer Jan (Roland Moller) and the captain (Keith Pearson), living in cramped quarters below decks, must try to stay sane and positive while not antagonising the Somali gunmen.

     The writer / director of A Hijacking (original title Kapringen) is Tobias Lindholm who is better known as the writer of The Hunt (2012) and political drama Borgen (2010). Perhaps it is this background which makes the scripting of A Hijacking very different from that recent film on a similar topic which starred Tom Hanks. A Hijacking is not a Hollywood type thriller but a psychological and procedural drama which concentrates upon the interaction between three people, Ludvigsen in Denmark and Omar and Mikkel on board the ship, and the physical and psychological pressure and toll on each as the negotiations drag on into 127 days. The film is presented in a dispassionate way with almost forensic detail; it utilises hand held moving cameras, a grainy print and an almost absence of music to induce a documentary feel. The Somali dialogue is also not subtitled, so the audience is just as confused and unsure as to what is intended as the crew on board the ship. The running time is also split almost equally between the ship and the boardroom in Copenhagen where the pressures upon Ludvigsen from the families of the crew and the company board members are different, but no less taxing, than the pressures upon the crew on the ship.

     A Hijacking has been criticised for being undramatic and dispassionate, but the film feels realistic and does build tension slowly but effectively. This is not a film when a hero on board grabs a machine gun and goes on a rampage to rescue the crew and kill the pirates. Their situation is dangerous, and scary, the reactions of the crew genuine. In one telling sequence, after 67 days captive the crew is allowed on deck for some fresh air, and proceed to catch a fresh fish which they eat with their captors in a seeming thawing of relations. But it does not last, and the danger and misunderstandings quickly return.

     Those seeking action and thrills may be disappointed with A Hijacking. Instead the film is a moving, tense psychological drama that avoids gung-ho action and heroics. The documentary feel and the fact that included in the cast were sailors who had been hijacked for real means that the film has a verisimilitude that is hard to beat.

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Transfer Quality


     A Hijacking is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The IMDb does not give the original ratio, but I suspect it was 1.85:1.

     A Hijacking was filmed using moving hand held digital cameras to give it a documentary feel. The result is a print that has reasonable detail although many of the exterior scenes on the boat appear overexposed, light and grainy. Interiors on the ship and in Copenhagen are darker, but even then there are a number of quite glary scenes where the light source is a window behind the actors. Blacks are good, but some shadow detail was lost. Colours are light in the exteriors, but are richer in the interiors where browns predominate.

     Other than slight ghosting and some aliasing against blinds, artefacts and marks are absent.

     The layer chance was not noticeable.

    English subtitles for the Danish dialogue are available in a yellow font. They are clear and easy to read and I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is a Danish Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps, although the film includes lot of English which thankfully is not subtitled.

     This is a film with mainly dialogue and no action – the hijacking of the ship for example is not shown. Thankfully, dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The rears and surrounds are used sparingly, but did add the hum of the ship’s engine and machinery, voices and gunshots. The sub-woofer was not really required, but did add bass to machinery sounds.

     The music score by Hildur Gudnadottir was used very sparingly but was effective when it appeared.

     The lip synchronisation fine.

    The audio was low key, but the film did not require anything more.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Behind the Scenes

     This consists of five short EPK sections featuring on set footage from the boat and the boardroom, plus interview snippets with the director, cinematographer, actors Roland Moller, Soren Malling and Pilou Asbaek, the CEO of a real shipping company, and real life crewmen who had been hijacked. The sections are:

Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

Madman Propaganda

     Trailers for The Shooter (2:10), Vehicle 9 (2:10). The Company You Keep (2:13) and A Royal Affair (1:56).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Blu-ray and DVD releases of A Hijacking in both the US and UK are identical to our Australian release and contain the same extras. Buy local.


     A Hijacking is a moving, tense psychological drama that avoids gung-ho action and heroics. Those seeking action and thrills will be disappointed but A Hijacking looks and feels real. Probably the closest you can come to understanding what it is like to be hijacked, without experiencing it!

     The DVD has acceptable video and audio. The extras are short and EPK, but there is nothing more available in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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