438 Days

2019 [SWEDISH]

Drama / Thriller

IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 3293 3.3K

Plot summary

On the eve of June 28th, 2011 Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson put everything at stake by illegally crossing the border from Somalia into Ethiopia. After months of research, planning and failed attempts, they were finally on their way to report on how the ruthless hunt for oil effected the population of the isolated and conflict-ridden Ogaden region. Five days later they lay wounded in the desert sand, shot and captured by the Ethiopian army. But when their initial reportage died, another story began. A story about lawlessness, propaganda and global politics. After a Kafkaesque trial they were sentenced to eleven years in prison for terrorism. And they were far from alone. Their cellmates were journalists, writers and politicians persecuted for not bowing down to dictatorship. Their reportage about oil was transformed into a story about ink, and their daily lives turned into a fight for survival inside the notorious Kality prison in Addis Ababa.

December 08, 2023 at 09:54 PM


Jesper Ganslandt

Top cast

Gustaf Skarsgård as Martin Schibbye
Matias Varela as Johan Persson
1.11 GB
Swedish 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 2 min
Seeds ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bandre89 7 / 10

A true story of freedom of speech

A great summing of the true story of journalists Martin Schibbye Johan Persson entering Ethiopia to cover a story of oil-interests when they're arrested for illegal entering and terrorism. The movie is well acted and thrilling to watch, it's a captivating story of free speech, justice and the search for truth with a nice sense of humor despite the seriousness of the film.

Reviewed by XtremeKiller 5 / 10

Felt like a movie about a legal battle over custody

Martin Schibbye himself have condemned this movie for being inaccurate when it comes to the military uniforms and weapons being too modern and clean and the prison being too dirty and hostile. But that doesn't bother me at all.

Did the military in reality have older weapons and the fellow prisoners was even more polite than how they are portrayed in the movie? Good for them! Because I got a very friendly feeling from the prison, it didn't even feel that intimidating that I have imagine that Kaliti would be. I actually didn't get the feeling that Martin and Johan was intimidated at all.

It more felt like a movie about a legal battle, and that being the swedes main concern. Johan och Martin seems more frustrated about not being able to speak their mind, then the fact that they was living in a prison for over a year. They just say it with ease: "We wouldn't survive here 11 years". But there's really no desperation in that. You don't get the feeling of how terrible it must be(?) to sit in that kind of prison for that long time. I got the feeling that they was mainly annoyed over not getting set free, then desperate to get out of there. It seemed like Martin even considered to appeal against the penalty, just because he wanted to make his freedom of speech-point. Is that really what was on top of his mind? Then the prison life didn't seem to have been as bad as I thought it was.

Sure, maybe that was a way to keep themselves sane. Occupying their minds with what they were there for in the first place. But it made me feel like I was watching two kids that ran away from their mother to their abusive father, because 'We have the right to be with dad if we want'. And now the parents was battling over custody. The father, Ethiopia, being the destructive parent and really not wanting them there, but still feeling obligated to keep them in one way. And the mother, Sweden, that wants them home and safe, even if she have hard to understand why they would have to go to the abusive father in the first place.

When you read Martins critique about the movie, it's not about how it focuses on a legal battle or the lack of feeling for how it is to sit in a prison for 438 days. His problem with the movie is that the journalists being imprisoned in Ethiopia are not only being silenced in real life, but also in the movie. I feel the journalism and freedom of speech-thread is the main role of the movie. The legal battle over their right to express themselves. When I was expecting a movie about 438 days in a prison.

Reviewed by Thanos_Alfie 6 / 10

Very good...

"438 Days" is a Drama - Thriller movie in which we watch two Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson getting caught in Ethiopia after they illegally crossing their boarders. Their research of the affect of oil in the population of Ethiopia makes things more difficult for them.

I enjoyed this movie because it had an interesting plot and it was based on a real story. The direction which was made by Jesper Ganslandt was very good and he succeeded on presenting both the plot and his main characters very well something that helped the audience a lot. The interpretations of both Gustaf Skarsgård who played as Martin Schibbye and Matias Varela who played as Johan Persson were very good and their combination worked very well. To sum up, I have to say that "438 Days" is a nice movie and I highly recommend everyone to watch it especially those who love movies that are based on real events.

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1 Comment

Whomazigger profile
Whomazigger December 08, 2023 at 10:07 pm

"Journalists". I wish they were hung.