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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

‘Held for Ransom’ Review: Negotiating With Terrorists

As with most films about fighting Islamic terrorists, there is some unacceptability associated with the opposition of white Westerners to the big bad Muslims in the show. If you’re willing to overlook certain internal difficulties, Detained for Ransom is an amazingly thoughtful hostage drama given the dumb-headed dumbness of its title.

Based on the 2013 abduction of Danish photographer Daniel Rai, who was held hostage by the Islamic State for 398 days, the film is based on a holistic approach taken from ISIS Hostage, a book by Pook Damsgaard Andersen, which first mapped from a journey to the liberation of Rye.

The abrupt start reveals a twist of fate that turned gymnast Daniel (Esben Smed) towards photojournalism, leading to a trip to Syria that soon ended in failure. Paradise’s story is inherently remarkable, including a brief escape, mistreatment by unyielding tormentors, and even bittersweet friendships with fellow prisoners, one of whom was James Foley (Toby Kebbell), an American whose beheading was filmed in 2014. …

The filmmakers Nils Arden Oplev (Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Anders Bertelsen unfold these events with intense ambiguity. Back home in Denmark, Daniel’s family is fighting a completely different kind of beast when they are forced to raise 2 million euros on his behalf, despite no real assurance that the people holding him hostage will hold back their side of the deal. At the same time, a stern hostage negotiator (Bertelsen) moves between the two countries, giving the Daniel family hope.

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Most intriguing is the film’s approach to the sensitive topic of “negotiations with terrorists,” when Daniel’s family is denied help from the Danish government, which has a zero-tolerance policy. The opposition of human sacrifices to ideological principles is conveyed pathetically and sharply. However, when Daniel finally crosses the border of his freedom, the camera shakes from the severity of his trauma – transferring this experience is ultimately the film’s greatest concern.

Held for the purpose of ransom
Not rated. In Danish and English with subtitles. The duration of the performance is 2 hours 18 minutes. In theaters and available for rent or purchase on Apple TV, Vudu, and other streaming platforms and Pay TV operators.

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