Kapringen (2012) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • The cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for harbor when it is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Amongst the men on board are the ship's cook Mikkel and the engineer Jan, 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 and the Somali pirates.

  • The crew of a Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates who proceed to engage in escalating negotiations with authorities in Copenhagen.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The film is about ancient business model, already so common in Mediterranean in middle ages when the people of Europe were taken hostage and often spent years or their whole lives waiting for ransom money to be sent to their mostly Moorish or Arab captors in North African coast. The heart of pirate criminality has become Somalia since the collapse of the state over two decades ago. It emanates malignant danger and threat all over Indian Ocean and in this story the victims are a Danish cargo ship's crew.

    The chef Mikkel is the one who is facing the biggest pressure. Instead of the ship's engineer or the captain he was chosen as the one the negotiators use for initiating contact with Orion Subway's CEO Peter for ransom money. The negotiators want Mikkel to express desperation and genuine fear when asking for exorbitant sums for the lives of the crew and for returning the ship to its owners.

    And the game of chess begins. The tormenting conditions of the crew linger on for months. Peter is in need of resolution but weighs the accumulating traumas of his men against massive sums of money to be paid to the callous captors. Hostages are the pawns on the chessboard under constant threat of violence by psychopathic, impulsive, illiterate teens waving deadly weapons at their face. Only the negotiator speaks a common language with the crew, the youthful pirates entertain themselves by humiliating the Danes whenever in the mood. During the protracted process there are also better times when slight bonding happens under the duress of the Ocean, but the crew's status as an expensive and valuable merchandise whose state of expressed misery is measurable by the profits gained by the captors and the termination of the whole ordeal warrants occasional abuse.

    Peter remains firm and resolute, Mikkel's family is desperate and hostage to their circumstances as faraway collateral victims, and Mikkel has resigned to his fate as a commodity to be traded. He can't do much else. Nerves falter, poker faces won't hold and some chips end up snatched forever...

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