The cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for harbour when it is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Amongst the men on board are the ship's cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk, Borgen) and the engineer Jan (Roland Møller), who along with the rest of the seamen are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death. With the demand for a ransom of millions of dollars a psychological drama unfolds between the CEO of the shipping company (Søren Malling The Killing, Borgen) and the Somali pirates.
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Based on the true story of a Danish ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates somewhere in the Indian Ocean, this thought provoking and gripping film gives a unique insight into what it might be like to not only be a victim of a hijacking but also tells the story from the point of view of the shipping company's CEO as he tries to negotiate the release of the crew over a period of time that becomes long and drawn out. Adding further authentic realism to the film, it was shot on board the actual hijacked ship not far from where it was taken by the pirates and used real hostages from the incident. Obviously being a Danish film it chose as its protagonists, two Danish characters whose eyes we see the film from. It would have been nice and bold to see the film from one of the foreign crew's points of view or even the Somali viewpoint to try to understand what truly drives them to take such drastic action. It also would be nice to see a film about Somalis made in the West that doesn't show them as simply pirates. Nonetheless, if there are some 1000 hostages currently being held on board ships by pirates then it is important to raise the plight of this situation. The strength of the film lies in its performances from all its international cast, each maintaining their native tongues and mannerisms, from the expert brought in to assist the CEO with negotiations, right through to the to the crew and the Somali pirates. You feel as if you're actually there and you're never quite sure how the characters might behave from day to day as the situation ebbs and flows. There are no far fetched heroics which adds to the helpless situation and makes you question the ethics of the shipping company's position when it comes to the absurdity how much we value human life. What was also very odd though may have been true about thew film is the lack of involvement by the military. Nowadays, any incident involving hostage taking or even accidents and at the drop of a hat, you see military personnel being deployed to the area, not only the country where the vessel originated from but elsewhere. In this film, that scenario was absent or never shown. I found this rather peculiar over time, especially knowing that large corporations find it hard to pay out any money and numerous government's stances about not negotiating with terrorists. This is a fascinating piece of work that's overall very believable.
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