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Daniel (2019) Movie Review


Director: Niels Arden Oplev, Anders W Berthelsen

Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen (Screenplay) Puk Damsgaard Andersen (Book)

Starring: Esben Smed, Toby Kebbell, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen

Plot: The story of Danish photographer Daniel Rye, who was captured by ISIS in Syria in 2013 and held hostage for 398 days.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Daniel starts as we see the gymnastics career of Daniel Rye (Smed) fall apart, leaving him unsure of his future, before he finds his new passion, photography, this will see him start to travel the world, seeing him head to Syria, capturing the calm before storms of fighting, stepping into different danger zones in the country.

This dream job turns into a nightmare when ISIS capture him and start torturing him believing he is involved with the CIA, his family must watch on helplessly beck in Denmark, while Daniel does everything he can to try and survive the situation.

Thoughts on Daniel

Characters & Performances – Daniel Rye has just started his career in photojournalism when he was reporting in Syria and finds himself taken by ISIS used as a hostage, left helpless in the hands of the terrorists, he tries to stay positive, befriending a fellow hostage, but he is ready to accept his fate if needed. James Foley is the man that tries to bring the hostages together, keeping their spirits up, which only angers the captors, he is the person Daniel becomes closest to during their time together. Both Esben Smed and Toby Kebbell, show us the difficult times the pair go through, not knowing what will happen to them next. We do meet Daniel’s family who are tyring to find a way to save him, looking at different option which might be considered illegal.

StoryThe story here follows the real events of Daniel Rye’s kidnapping by ISIS, where we follow his struggle to survive and his family’s struggle to find a way to rescue him and pay off the ransom. This is an interest look at one of the most difficult times for a family, seeing how they reacted to a hostage situation, though we have heard and seen many of these before, we don’t seem to get anything we haven’t seen before, showing how ruthless and committed to their cause the terrorists are, while showing how helpless the family can look. While we don’t need to see the conditions the hostages find themselves in, it might have been more intense to show us just how bad the chances of survive might have been.

ThemesDaniel does give us a look at the drama that revolves around a hostage situation, showing how helpless both sides can be, showing us that hope is all they can do. The film does create the settings to show the horrendous conditions the hostages are kept in throughout their ordeal.

Final Thoughts Daniel is a harrowing look at how a survivor of a hostage situation got through.

Signature Entertainment present Daniel on Digital Platforms 18th January



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