“24 Days” a Grim True Story
By Skip Sheffield
Sadly, the gripping hostage drama “24 Days,” playing Living Room Theaters, is based on a true story.
If you watch this Algerian-French production to the end you will know why I say “sadly.”
“24 Days,” directed by Alexandre Arcady, is based on a book by Ruth Halimi, mother of Ilan Halimi, kidnapped in 2006 at age 23 in downtown Paris.
Ilan was lured into an ambush by a pretty young woman. His captors demanded a ransom of 450,000 Euros; an impossible sum for Illan’s parents.
The kidnappers, a gang of 25 Barbarians let by Youssouf Fofana (Tony Harrison), an obnoxious, anti-Semitic Islamic extremist from Africa’s Ivory Coast, were convinced that Ilan’s family was rich, simply because they were Jewish.
That is only one of the anti-Semitic stereotypes depicted in this story. Ilan’s parents are in fact divorced and estranged. Mother Ruth (Zabou Breitman) is increasingly desperate and emotional. Father Didier (Pascal Elbe) is willing to go into debt for all he has to secure his son’s release.
The gang doesn’t care about religion or ideology as much as it does about money. They are extortionists pure and simple, and sadists for the cruelty and torture they impose upon helpless Ilan.
“24 Days” is a thoroughly unpleasant film, though unfortunately the mindset of the criminals portrayed, is quite accurate. If anything the precarious situation pitting nihilistic, murderous Islamic radicals against the rest of civilization has only worsened since 2006. Yes the French police could have done more, but against an enemy this terrible, there is no rational defense.