‘Daniel’: Film Review

In 2013, Daniel Rye, a Danish photographer in his mid-twenties, went to Syria to document the plight of civilian refugees and was kidnapped by Isis.

Ransomed and held captive for 13 months, Rye was psychologically and physically tortured, starved and beaten by his captors, first on his own and then alongside several other international hostages, among them U.S.

journalist James Foley.This is the inherently dramatic true story told in Puk Damsgaard Andersen’s book “The Isis Hostage,” but it takes intelligence and paradoxical restraint from directors Niels Arden Oplev (Sweden’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Anders W.

Berthelsen, as well as a superb, exceptionally physical lead performance from Esben Smed, to adapt it into “Daniel,” .

Partly, the balance between gritty, true-life fidelity and pacy, exciting storytelling is achieved because in Rye, to whom Eric Kress’ warm, compassionate camera clings so doggedly, we have such a sympathetic, human protagonist.

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