Astrology: Film: ‘A Hijacking’ (2013)

Magnolia Pictures

When you’re CEO, you’re unquestionably in Plutonian control of the entirety of the enterprise. In A Hijacking, Tobias Lindholm’s psychological and weapon-wielding thriller, procedural certainty disintegrates instantly when Danish shipping company chief executive Peter (Soren Malling) learns that his cargo vessel, the Rozen, has been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

We know, from the stiffly formal and Saturnine Peter’s early negotiation session with several Japanese businessmen, that he can briskly bring the opposing side to its knees in reaching a financial agreement. However, after the hijacking, he meets his match by phone in Omar (Abdihakin Asgar ), the negotiator working on behalf of the pirates, who sets the ransom for the crew and ship at $15 million.

The movie jumps back and forth between the increasingly demoralized crew of the Rozen – with special focus on the ship’s cook, Mikkel (Pilou Asbaek), who has a wife and young child at home – and Peter, who insists on conducting the life-and-death negotiations with Omar and not using a professional, against the advice of a British negotiations consultant who warns that any emotional involvement or single mistake could result in death.

Suddenly, Peter’s organized, structured corporate world – evoking by-the-rules Saturn – is eclipsed by the sudden and highly volatile (Uranus) presence of the pirates. The hostages, of course, are caught in the middle – as are most of us who are metaphorically captive in the unpredictability (Uranus) of present day existence, despite our desperate need for security (Saturn).

Peter keeps dragging it out, clinging to the company’s money and making abysmally low counter offers, as though human life is a secondary concern. The result is the ship sits at sea for more than four months. A Hijacking is a thought-provoking study of how logic, once revered as the great liberator of savage minds, is no longer a universally accepted conduit to mutual understanding.

Astrology Film Rating: ♇♅♄ (Pluto, Uranus, Saturn)

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