Sam Nelson: Hijack character explained

In Hijack, Sam Nelson, a passenger on flight KA29, tries to handle the crisis on board when five hijackers take control of the plane. Idris Elba plays the role of Sam.

Sam is flying from Dubai to London on a Kingdom Airlines flight. He is going home to his son and his ex-wife. However, soon after the take-off, Sam gets suspicious of two passengers.

He then tries to investigate on his own and finds out that some of the passengers are carrying similar-looking washbags that were not given to them by the flight attendants.

Sam is right to be worried, as minutes later, five hijackers take control of the plane. At a time like this, when all the passengers panic, Sam is the only one who has his wits about him.

An expert negotiator

Apart from being observant, Sam is also able to stay calm in high-pressure situations. He does not hand over his phone to the hijackers immediately. He lies to them about not having his phone with him and quickly sends a message to his ex-wife about the incident on the plane.

He also advises the other passengers to not take action until they know who the hijackers are, and when they do not listen to him, they get in trouble.

Sam then tries to get in the hijackers’ good books and win their trust. He gets the hijacker in charge, Stuart, to remove the pilot from the cockpit. The hijacker is led to believe that Sam is helping them and selfishly betraying the other passengers because he wants to stay alive.

Hijack Sam
Sam convinces Stuart to remove the pilot from the cockpit

What the hijacker does not know is that Sam got the pilot removed from the cockpit so that he could communicate with him; he uses a multiplayer game to chat with the pilot.

He makes a plan to tell the authorities that something is wrong with the plane without the hijackers finding out. Sam and the pilot put up an act, and the pilot is able to change the course of the plane to alert the authorities as per Sam’s plan.

It turns out that Sam is so persuasive because he is an expert negotiator. He is brought in by big companies whenever there is a merger or a takeover because he is the best at handling negotiations.

Sam uses his skills to deal with the hijackers. He believes that in order to get the better of someone, one must put oneself in their shoes, and he does exactly that with the hijackers.

However, he later gets in trouble with them when he defends the pilot. When he tries to take down one of the hijackers, he is tied up and left alone.

Even then, Sam helps another injured hijacker because he is his son’s age, and Sam would want someone to help his son if he was injured and dying. He helps the hijacker, but not without sending a message to the authorities that ends up saving the lives of all the people on board.

Sam’s understanding of human nature allows him to manipulate the situation to his advantage, which is why he becomes a key player in ending the crisis on board.


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