New in Theaters: ‘Last Hijack’ Gets Inside the Mind of a Somali Pirate

'Last Hijack': Let's steal a ship. (The Match Factory)
‘Last Hijack’: Let’s steal a ship. (The Match Factory)

In the latest take on the Somali pirate phenomenon, Last Hijack comes from a more innovative direction. It mixes on-the-ground documentary footage of Mohamed, the pirate captain who’s pushing for another escapade even as his parents and new wife beg him not, with imaginative animated segments that portray his roiling internal strife and traumatic memories of war.

Last Hijack opens today in limited release after playing a number of film festivals. My review is at Film Journal International:

In the rash of recent films centered on the Somali piracy outbreak, almost none have been shot from the pirate’s point of view (the 2012 short and 2014 feature Fishing Without Nets being a rare exception). It’s not surprising, as Western audiences prefer their pirate-centric films to be more lusty, fun-loving, highly fictional, and safely mired in the past. When the films, and the many books and magazines, about the subject have tiptoed into the causes behind the outbreak of piracy, some have fallen prey to the too-easy explanation of: The pirates were once fishermen, and after other nations’ fishing vessels stripped the ocean clean, they resorted to piracy to make a living. That’s a big part of the story. But what Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting’s smart, well-rounded documentary understands is another quite obvious explanation: Piracy in this scenario is not only a way to make easy money in a poverty- and war-ravaged land, it’s an addictive thrill…

You can see the trailer here:

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