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08/15/2013

Big Mac movie review: "A Hijacking" feels almost too real

A-hijacking-movie-poster-2013-1020755196Hollywood is about to go big budget on the hijacking a cargo ship genre when Tom Hanks stars in the soon-to-be-released movie "Captain Phillips". Until then, however, one of dem forner countries - in this case Denmark - has produced a solid, and completely authentic - take on the hell that it must be like to be involved in this scneario.

"A Hijacking" opens on Friday at the Magnolia in Dallas. Click here for the website.

The story: A Danish cargo ship headed for Africa is hijacked by Somali pirates. The CEO of the company that owns the ship has to negotiate with the Somali leader of the rebels who are looking for $15 million, while his crew waits it out for months on end. This is generally a stressful situation.

The people: The only member of the crew we are permitted to know is the cook, Mikkel Hartmann (Pilou Asbaek), who has a wife and daughter at home. The crewmates are pawns used as leverage by the mostly ignorant but serious pirates whose end game is cash.

The CEO of the company, enlists the help of a hostage professional who guides him through the stressful and impossible negotiation, is sympathetic because you know he is trying to do right by his people, and the board members.

Director Tobias Lindholm, who also wrote the screenplay, does a wonderful job of including the boredom and fear of the men on board and the sheer frustration of the CEO trying to reason with the idiot pirates.

The Only Knock: The character development is lacking. While the action and the dialogue feel authentic, there is a lack of connection to the people involved. You want to care about them because of the situation, but there is no bond. Not even the twist at the end generates the type of feeling the director was going for because you don't know these people well enough.

Should you see it: This is one of those films critics love because it makes them seem smart - there are some subtitles! It's a good film, but the lack of connection the characters generate is reason alone to see this as a rental.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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