Film Review: Daniel

Hostage-taking has played an important role in warfare since time immemorial. Providing an easy way to raise funds quickly, a bargaining chip for any negotiations and a way to guarantee someone’s compliance. It’s still widespread in many places around the world, but the focus is usually on conflict zones. Most recently, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Daniel Rye was kidnapped and held hostage by ISIS. Daniel tells his story.

Daniel Rye (Esben Smed) is a young Danish photographer who is excited when he gets the opportunity to document the suffering of ordinary civilians in Syria. However, this enthusiasm soon sours when he’s kidnapped and finds himself the hostage of a mysterious group who demand a large ransom for his release. Whilst the Danish government refuses to negotiate with terrorists, the family engage an expert, Arthur (Anders W. Berthelsen), to try to secure his release.

By splitting its focus between Daniel’s story and the struggles his family face trying to raise his ransom, directors Niels Arden Oplev and Anders W. Berthelsen afford us a rounded view of the impact of kidnapping. By introducing James Foley into the mix, they open up a largely unknown tale to a wider audience. Daniel is impressively made, well-acted and brings the horrors of captivity into stark relief.

Daniel is released on digital by Signature Entertainment on 18 January.

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