Tobias Lindholm, 99 mins, 15
Film review: A Hijacking - Borgen versus the Pirates! Aarrr, 'tis a wondrous tale, me hearties …
Saturday 11 May 2013
If it were not galling enough to have the Danes teaching us how to make brainy, nailbiting drama on television, now they're doing it in the cinema, too. A Hijacking, which borrows one writer and two actors from Borgen, is a mercilessly taut depiction of what happens when a gang of Kalashnikov-toting Somali pirates commandeers a cargo ship in the Indian ocean.
Hoping to make it through the ordeal is Pilou Asbaek, the ship's hearty but increasingly traumatised cook (a nod to Under Siege, although Asbaek couldn't be further from Steven Seagal). But the genius of the film is that only half of it takes place at sea, while the rest plays out in the swanky head office of the shipping company, thousands of miles away in Denmark. The company's CEO, Soren Malling, is an indomitable, almost emotionless negotiator who insists on talking to the pirates himself, via speakerphone. A dead ringer for Nick from The Apprentice, he seems to treat the crisis as a Sugar task in which the goal is to settle on the lowest ransom, rather than to get his employees home in one piece.
As days turn into weeks and then months, there's no ignoring the contrast between the grimy captives, stewing in their cramped cabin, and the sharp-suited executives in their immaculate boardrooms, but A Hijacking is too restrained and focused to make grand political generalisations. Paring away the characters' back stories and what's-my-motivation speeches, it's a sober, documentary-style account, but it's as nerve-jangling as any thriller.
There's another kind of hostage scenario in Our Children (Joachim Lafosse, 105 mins, 15 *****), an overwhelming true-crime drama which reunites Tahar Rahim and Niels Arestrup from A Prophet. Rahim plays a twentysomething Moroccan who was raised in Belgium by Arestrup's well-off doctor. There are rumours that they're more than just adoptive father and son, but when Rahim falls madly in love with a teacher, Emilie Dequenne, Arestrup is generous to a fault: he employs Rahim as his receptionist, and invites the couple to share his Brussels home.
On the surface, Dequenne is handed an enviably comfortable existence, but in return she cedes all control over her own future. Arestrup and Rahim make all the decisions; the camera spies on her through doorways, so she always seems stifled and under surveillance; and when she starts having babies, the bars of her gilded cage feel thicker than ever.
Our Children is a sort of feminist horror movie about a woman trapped in a house with a monster – someone who's literally killing her with kindness. But Joachim Lafosse's complex film goes way beyond that. Despite its confined domestic setting, it speaks volumes about the state of the wider world today.
Teenage taggers target a New York landmark in Adam Leon's fresh, freewheeling graffiti comedy Gimme the Loot. Meanwhile Robert Downey Jr reprises his impeccable oddball superhero shtick in Iron Man 3, with director Shane Black's witty irreverence reinforcing iron with irony.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga