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Pick of the week: Hijacked by Somali pirates

If the relentless Danish piracy thriller “A Hijacking” were an American movie, or had been made in English – some of it is in English, actually, since that’s the international language of diplomacy, extortion and blackmail – it would be widely proclaimed as one of the best films of the year. But that’s essentially a ludicrous thing to say, since no mainstream American thriller could ever be made about this subject that resisted simple-minded narrative clichés the way “A Hijacking” does, or that refused to depict its characters as either heroes or villains.

In essence, Tobias Lindholm’s film is a corporate thriller, a story of the business world that explores both the backroom deal-making and its effects on ordinary people. In this case, the deal involves ransom negotiations to free the crew of a Danish cargo vessel that’s been commandeered by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. But for buttoned-down CEO Peter Ludvigsen (Søren Malling) back in Copenhagen, the negotiating tactics are no different from the ones he’s just used to drive down the price of a deal with a Japanese partner. As for the pirates themselves, they’re a well-known risk in doing business in that part of the world. Sometimes you have to bribe corrupt officials, sometimes you pay millions to consultants who do nothing, and sometimes you deal with pirates. They are practicing capitalism by other means.

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