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Hijacking horror for the screen

Hijacking horror for the screen
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‘The Hijacking’ tells the gripping story of four months of negotiations over a Danish merchant, seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Fans of Nordic Noir will be pleased to hear it is written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, the man who scripted ‘Borgen’ and ‘The Hunt’.

As actor Pilou Asbaek explained, shooting on location meant the threat of pirates was a very real one: “We filmed off the coast of Kenya for three weeks, six days a week and we had armed guards because we were sailing toward Somalia, just north of Kenya, so it was pretty dangerous.”

Resisting the siren-call of Hollywood histrionics, the actual hijack is very low key on screen and instead, the film focuses on the tense chess game of hostage negotiation and the shifting loyalties within the stricken cargo ship.

For Asbaek, the intensity of the film’s production setting meant getting into character was not a problem: “It is the easiest way to act, if all of the surroundings are as realistic as possible. This is the reason why we went on a boat that has been hijacked before, why we used the crew members who have been hijacked before. Because we wanted the film to be realistic as possible and because then, somehow, you eliminate the acting and it is just about being.”

With attacks down 75 percent this year, thanks to increased security on vessels and the preventative effect of sentencing pirates to Somalia’s notoriously grim prisons, EU and US diplomats have celebrated a ‘de-glamorisation of piracy’.

To its credit, ‘The Kidnapping’ does not make you want to jump ship any time soon.

The film is in cinemas across Europe later this month.