Film Review : A Hijacking (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.2
Rotten Tomato Score – 96%

Directed By – Tobias Lindholm
Starring – Pilou Asbæk, Søren Malling, Abdihakin Asgar

The crew of a Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates who proceed to engage in escalating negotiations with authorities in Copenhagen.

People who watch a lot of movie notice a trend once or twice a year. It’s the trend of the doubles. Two movies, sometime three or four, come out around the same time that are about the same thing. We saw it with Armageddon and Deep Impact, Mission to Mars and Red Planet, and most recently White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. Earlier this month I reviewed Captain Phillips and found it to be a completely good film throughout and as tense as they come. Captain Phillips, like A Hijacking are basically the same movie plot wise. They just so happen to be entirely different in every other way.

A Hijacking is not your typical action thriller. Hell, there really isn’t much action. A Hijacking is a slow burn as hostage movies come and really plays with the viewers head. Psychology when dealing with a hostage situation can get very interesting very quick and it actually took me a while to go from “why the hell won’t this problem get resolved quicker” to thinking “well, this is sort of making sense”. Piracy is not something that you can just pay to go away. You feed the monster and it only gets bigger and stronger. It takes a lot of effort not to scream at the screen urging the characters of this film to make different decisions and for that the film takes a hell of a lot more meaning than a standard action film that adheres to the guidelines.

A Hijacking was just as tense as Captain Phillips without having to shout it in my face with blaring Hanz Zimmer-esque scores and fast moving cameras. These were not particularly troublesome for Phillips but rather evidence on how different two nearly identical films can be. I enjoyed both for two different reason. If you like slow burns and completely realistic portrayals of how piracy negotiations work, then check out this film.


Film Review : Captain Phillips (2013)

At this was written…
IMDB Score – 6.9
RT Score – 86%

So I happened to scroll through my local theaters today and realized that many of them are showing a single showing of Captain Phillips a week before it comes out. I wasn’t doing anything so I decided to give it a go as I’ve heard great things about not only the film but the performance of Tom Hanks. Since only weirdos dislike Tom Hanks, this was enough for me to purchase a ticket. I swear the annoying people in a movie theater radio to each other and coordinate a game plan that involves being as close to me as possible. I had Mr. Restless Leg Syndrome sitting to my right who effectively turned my seat into a rumble seat. I had the woman midway through the film who just HAD to get her daughters doll which she dropped under my seat during the previous film. Finally I had the elderly couple directly behind me where the wife was going blind and the husband decided to just recite every subtitle after it came up on screen. On second thought…that’s adorable and I’m just being a prick. I didn’t say anything to them for the record. In all this chaos thought came something special…


Tom Hanks crushed this film. I’m not a big fan of Forrest Gump and I sadly have not seen Philadelphia yet, but I have no doubt in my mind that there is a great chance of this role being Tom Hank’s third Oscar for Best Actor. He’s that good in it. I’ll get to more of why in a minute.

The film is also very good. Paul Greengrass, as he usually does takes a very powerful and lasting story in our History and turns it into powerful and lasting cinema. This may not be as historically significant as Bloody Sunday or 9/11 but the story itself is one of emotion and intensity. The story of Richard Phillips getting kidnapped by Somali pirates was in the papers for some time. I remember it. I felt bad for the guy just trying to do his job and getting attacked by savages. The film does a great job telling this story. There were times where some points in the ordeal seemed to carry on for way longer than they should have and I feel like the story has been “dumbed” down a bit to make for more interesting cinema but these are minor flaws in an overall excellent film. I was drawn in from the moment Captain Phillips noticed the boats approaching as the film doesn’t really let up after that. Greengrass gives his signature style of low angle shots as if we’re watching the film unfold from an invisible child in the room with the actors. This gives a very “real” feeling instead of a theatrical one. The film also utilized the services of four VERY good Somali actors particularly the Ying and Yang main characters, one who speaks English and is in charge, and the other who has a SHORT fuse and is second in command. These two were fantastic as they bounced off each other with wonderful chemistry. It was fun to see.

However, the star is Tom Hanks. His performance coincides with the tone and intensity of the film. The longer the film goes on the more tense and suspenseful it gets and Hanks only gets better. All of this culminates in a 3rd act that gave me one of the most emotional rides I’ve had in a theater. Hanks in about twenty minutes gives the best performance of his career and one of the most heartbreaking finale scenes in memory. He perfectly captured what the actual Richard Phillips, or anybody in the matter, would feel being in the situation he was in. When the credits began to roll the whole theater was crying. I’ll admit I don’t have tears but it was because I was fighting them back so hard. It reminded me of the end of Zero Dark Thirty but instead of feeling like “what now” , I had a feeling of thank God that is over. It’s that much of a ride.

The film exceeded my expectations and then some. It’s a great thriller full of suspense and powerful acting culminating in one of the greatest ten minutes of acting I’ve seen. Buying a twelve dollar ticket just to see the end of this film would be worth it my book. Bravo Mr. Hanks.