First Hit: A serious and interesting film about what a high-seas hijacking might entail.
My curiosity about how Somali pirates get on-board the huge freighters to hijack them, made me want to see this film.
It starts by showing Peter Ludvigsen (Soren Malling), the CEO of a shipping company, negotiating a deal with a Japanese group. He’s matter of fact, unemotional, and clear about his objective.
The other part of the story is about Mikkel Hartman (Pilou Asbaek) a cook on the ship that gets hijacked. The third main character is the Somali pirate’s negotiator Omar (Abdihakin Asgar) who wants to make sure that he is not classed with the pirates, but hired to negotiate a settlement because he speaks multiple languages. Mikkel is highly attached to his wife and child who are awaiting him to return home.
When the boat he’s on is hijacked, Peter insists on negotiating the release of both the boat and the crew. Omar suggests that the initial price asked by the pirates is $15M US. Peter’s counter offer is $250K. Omar uses Mikkel as a pawn to drive emotion into his bosses' negotiation tactics.
The distance between the two sides makes for a long protracted negotiation and as one of Peter’s consultants tells him, time is a western concept and means nothing to the pirates. Meanwhile the during the 4 month negotiation process the film goes back and forth between Peter at corporate HQ and Mikkel, the ship, and its crew in the middle of the ocean.
Asbaek is very good as the sensitive cook who misses his wife and child. At one point he gets very angry and slams his fist on the table, but the rest of the time, he is a quiet force. Malling is excellent as the supposed heartless negotiator. He’s anything but heartless and knows how to put on the face and mental attitude to make his negotiations work. He does everything he can to hold the line required to make it work. Asgar is very good as the Somali pirate negotiator. Tobias Lindholm wrote and directed this film and made it really work.
Overall: Although I didn’t learn how the pirates get on these huge freighters from their small boats, I did feel as though I learned how this process works.