(director/writer: Tobias Lindholm; cinematographer: Magnus Nordenhof Jonck; editor: Adam Nielsen; music: Hildur Gudnadottir; cast: Pilou Asbaek (Mikkel Hartmann), Soren Malling (Peter C. Ludvigsen), Dar Salim (Lars Vestergaard), Roland Moller (Jan), Gary Skjoldmose Porter (Connor Julian), Abdihakin Asgar (Omar), Amalie Alstrup (Marian Hartmann), Amalie Vulff Andersen (Kamilla Hartmann), Linda Laursen (Anette Ludvigsen), Keith Pearson (Captain); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Tomas Radoor/René Ezra; Magnolia Pictures; 2012-Denmark-in Danish/Somali/English with English subtitles)

“Grim but well-executed gripping fictionalized hostage thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Danish writer Tobias Lindholm (“Hit First, Hit Hardest“), in his second directorial effort, directs and writes this grim but well-executed gripping fictionalized hostage thriller that holds our attention with a high-pressure crisis negotiation of a life and death situation between Somali pirates and a Danish shipping company.

The Danish cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for port in Mumbai when hijacked in the Indian Ocean, off-screen, by a larger group of determined and dangerous heavily-armed Kalashnikov-toting Somali pirates. The shipping company CEO Peter C. Ludvigsen (Soren Malling) hires Brit negotiator, a specialist in bargaining with pirates, Connor Julian (Skjoldmose Porter), who advises to show no emotion and not to give in to their initial ransom request of $15 million but to offer a much lower number, like $250,000. After the rejection, it’s clear we’re in for a rough sea ride filled with psychological drama.

The genial young married family man, the galley cook Mikkel Hartmann (Pilou Asbaek), speaks a fluent English and is used by Omar (Abdihakin Asgar), the pirates’ English speaking negotiator, who claims he’s not a pirate but forced by them to follow their instructions. Omar keeps the cook by his side while he deals with the cool and calculating Peter. The pic maintains tension throughout by veering from the deteriorating unsanitary conditions forced on the commercial ships’ seven-man crew, how the crew’s families back in Copenhagen are dealing with the stalemated 134 days of negotiation and the intricacies of making a deal so all the men return home safely and the pirates feel rewarded for their effort. We are privy to boardroom politics for the shipping company during the time the pirates threaten to kill the hostages and we’re left feeling uncertain if this hard-nosed business-type of negotiation will work with such ruthless outlaws.

The taut, no-nonsense film, never got the attention it deserved during its theater release, but deserves upon its DVD release another chance to be viewed. It compares favorable with the same-themed, true story, big-budgeted 2013 release of Captain Phillips.

REVIEWED ON 11/18/2013 GRADE: A- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”