Rating : ⭐️ ⭐️
Categorisation: Drama thriller
Availability: Netflix – English subtitles
Plot: This is a Danish/Israeli collaboration telling the story of a young Danish woman, Pia, who travels to Israel and then to Sinai, where she is kidnapped by ISIS operatives. Her parents, Alex and Karl, only discover she has left the country when they arrive at her apartment with a birthday surprise. After a few days of no contact from Pia, Alex decides to follow her to Israel where she applies pressure to her diplomatic contacts to return her daughter to safety. Alex visits Arik, the Israeli Intelligence Minister, with whom she has worked closely in the past, particularly on the 1992 Oslo Accords. Back home in Denmark, a senior member of ISIS, Abu Salim, is imprisoned on terrorism charges. Pia is an ISIS hostage and becomes a bargaining chip for a prisoner exchange. Pia’s father, Karl, is a senior judge in Denmark, and while Alex works on Pia’s release in Israel, he remains in Denmark in the hope of putting pressure on the Danish authorities to exchange Abu Salim for his daughter. This is nevertheless complicated by the Danish government policy of non-negotiation with terrorists. We then follow the action in Denmark, Israel and Palestine as they engage in the dangers of hostage negotiation.
Filming and Setting: In this series co-directors Stian Kristiansen and Uri Barbash take us across multiple locations in Israel and Palestine, providing spectacular desert aerial views and wonderful scenes in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Denmark. This is a real strength of the series.
Cast: With the possible exceptions of Anders T. Andersen playing Karl and Raida Adon as the enigmatic Layla, both of whom provide mature performances, the rest of the cast struggle to provide authenticity in their roles. Anneke von der Lippe as Pia’s mother Alex is the most irritating. Her reckless behaviour along with her excessively melodramatic demeanour is completely at odds with her diplomatic background. It’s difficult to imagine her successfully negotiating any conflicting situation, let alone a peace accord.
Personal Comments: The question of Palestinian statehood has been explored in film before, for me most memorably in the 2014 series, The Honourable Woman. Unfortunately, The Girl from Oslo is nowhere near that calibre. Despite its visual authenticity and its fast-paced twists and turns, the plot is unlikely and the series overall lacks credibility. If you are after a really good hostage series I’d stick with The Honourable Woman.