A Hijacking follows the story of a cargo ship as it travels across the Indian Ocean when a band of pirates takes the crew hostage. The CEO of the shipping company is determined to get them back alive. The film becomes almost unbearable to endure as the situation escalates from bad to worse. Time becomes an enemy. The minutes drag along as two stubborn parties refuse to compromise. All of the film’s tension and frustration comes from the way the film was made. The filmmakers handle the situation so realistically, almost to a fault.
As the story progresses, the experience of watching the film feels more like a firsthand documentary. The characters become overwhelmed and helpless, unable to control anything about their situation. As an audience member, you cannot help but commensurate with the people on both sides of the struggle in hopes that someone will actually accomplish something. The length of the film and its unrelenting realism only exacerbates our mutual feeling of frustration and powerlessness.
During tense scenes in most other films, a common reaction is to hope that nothing bad happens, that good people survive. However, throughout A Hijacking, we want SOMETHING to happen. Life is frustrating and sometimes uneventful. But films should offer so much more.