Venice 2012: Searching For The Golden Lion In The Festival’s First Half

SEPTEMBER 3, 2012 12:33 PM

Of the fifteen features I’ve seen so far, the only one I could unhesitatingly recommend is Toronto-bound “A Hijacking” (Kapringen) from Denmark’s writer-director du jour Tobias Lindholm - whose credits include BAFTA-winning political TV series “Borgen” and Thomas Vinterberg’s Cannes-awarded “The Hunt.” Lindholm collaborated with Michael Noer on 2010′s genuinely harrowing and narratively audacious prison drama “R” (which I like to describe as “‘A Prophet’ for grown-ups”) but goes it alone here, switching between a pirate-infested cargo ship in the Indian Ocean and its owners’ head office back in Copenhagen as negotiations drag on for days, weeks and months.

A resolutely unflashy study of leadership in crisis, “A Hijacking” eschews melodrama and action - the actual hijacking itself is skipped over in an ellipsis - apart from one final-act touch of tragic irony, a concession to convention which Lindholm can get away with thanks to the steely strengths of what’s gone before.