The Hostage Takers

Puk Damsgård Andersen

Journalist Sean Langan confronts two of the British IS members known as ‘The Beatles’. They were the brutal guards of many hostages, including the executed war correspondent James Foley, a close friend of Langan. Also with honest, emotional and nail-biting interviews with other first hand witnesses. 
When English journalist Sean Langan sits down for interviews with IS members Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, the atmosphere is heavy with tension. The two were responsible for guarding, torturing and ultimately helping the brutal – and live streamed – execution of Langan’s friend James Foley. Langan, who himself was held hostage by the Taleban, tracked them down in captivity by Kurdish forces in Syria. While he genuinely tries to understand them he spares no punches, leading to jaw-dropping moments. 
Danish photographer Daniel Rye was part of James Foley’s group of hostages, but he was freed after negotiations. Underneath his understated account is an incredible power and emotion. The man who negotiated with IS on behalf of the family provides a nail-biting account of the steps leading up to Rye’s release. An intense, and eerie, look inside the minds of hardened terrorists. 


Puk Damsgård Andersen
Country of production
82 minutes
Spoken language
Danish, English
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