MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Kevin Kline, Cesar Ramos, Paulina Gaitan, Alicja Bachleda. Crime drama. Written by Jose Rivera. Directed by Marco Kreupaintner.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) is a 13-year-old girl from Mexico City whose kidnapping by sex traffickers sets in motion a desperate mission by her 17-year-old brother, Jorge (Cesar Ramos), to save her. Trapped and terrified by an underground network of international thugs who earn millions exploiting their human cargo, Adrianas only friend and protector throughout her ordeal is Veronica (Alicja Bachleda), a young Polish woman tricked into the trade by the same criminal gang. As Jorge dodges immigration officers to track the girls abductors, he meets Ray (Kevin Kline), a Texas cop whose own family loss to sex trafficking leads him to become an ally in the boys quest.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Recently we have learned that a famous football player who made millions of dollars at his chosen profession, who wanted for nothing, still wanted to make more at the expense of animals. The monstrous training and the torture of dogs for the purpose of a gambling sport meant nothing to the associates of Michael Vick. Or, evidently, Michael Vick himself. There are people bent on harming other living things to satisfy something deep inside them. Even worse are the men and women who traffic in human beings in order to satisfy a deviance that has corrupted their souls. Is it just the acquisition of money that motivates them? Can you really destroy another persons life merely to gain wealth? Or is there some other deep-seated objective behind controlling another persons destiny?

Though both Cesar Ramos and Kevin Kline are compelling in their roles, as are Paulina Gaitan and Alicja Bachleda, and while I congratulate the filmmakers for addressing this subject without the inclusion of titillation or exploitation, still the production might have been more effective without the typical Hollywood treatment, with the good guys eventually besting the bad guys. In real life, thats not happening. The bad guys are still profiting from this illicit activity and the good guys seem to be looking the other way. What would have haunted our dreams would have been the image of 13-year-old Adriana seen led away, never to return. For, except for a few lucky ones, that is the fate of many sucked up by this industry. Perhaps that horrifying image would have galvanized us into action. Instead, everyone gets to go home as if the evil had been defeated.

Of course, in this film its George Bush, his administration and the rest of us gringos who are doing all the looking in the other direction. Once again, America is censured by a filmmaker for not policing the entire world, while other nations go unscathed. The resentment for the United States by other countries is beginning to bug me. Its always portrayed that those nations have just a bit more soul than we do. Yet, most of the human trafficking even that which exists in our country is being organized by foreigners, illegals who go undetected. Are Americans uncaring about human slavery in the world? Some are. Some are too busy trying to care for their own. And some dont know what to do. But I suspect that the majority of Americas citizens despise the concept of human trafficking. We also detest dog fighting, bull fighting and the clubbing to death of baby seals. But until the governors of foreigners do their job, theres not much ours can do.

There are those who dont want us to remove Hitler-like dictators who govern the way things are run in plighted countries, but these same folks want us to feed the hungry of the world and police bad doers such as slavers and drug pushers who reside in other nations. Though this desire to end such indignities is well meant, it has become clear that such attempts are merely treating the symptoms, not the actual ailment. Weve been feeding the world for years, yet it remains hungry. And every so often, the importers of narcotics are seized with record loads. Yet, corruption in other countries assures that industry a luxurious survival. The truth is, until the leaders of other nations see the evil in their indifference and our legal system returns to protecting victims more so than criminals, no amount of American enforcement will be effective.

Well, thats about as controversial as anything Ive written in a review. I expect to get clobbered for it. But I just cant believe that our nation alone is guilty for all the adversity around the world. And I find the detractors of the U.S. more concerned with the downfall of America than the building up of other lands. They seem to justify the ignorance of others, as if conscience was regulated by culture or finances.

The film has many powerful moments, ones that hit you in the gut. When you see one of these slavers punch a woman in the face, or an escaping girl hit by a car, or a young woman raped, or a 13-year-old girl crying, wanting to go home to her mom, or a young boy held down while a man injects him with heroine in order to control him, youll wish you were anywhere but at that theater. That said, if these enactments cause a motivating concern, then perhaps we should see this film. The visuals of these brutalizations drive home the fact that such an institution still exists. It thrives.

In the film we see people bidding to buy a young girl on the Internet. From what I understand, this is actually possible, that such transactions actually occur via the information superhighway. My God.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Roadside Attractions

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Some crude sexual remarks and many put-downs of gringos.

Obscene Language: Around 35 obscenities, mostly the f-word.

Profanity: Seven profane uses of Gods name and Christs.

Violence: The brutal rape of a young woman; people beaten and threatened with death; a woman is punched in the face, twice; a woman is hit and killed by a speeding car it is a jolting visual; a man is stabbed to death; other killings; a dispirited female prisoner commits suicide; other visual abuses. Blood: Some blood.

Sex: It is implied that these kidnapped women are to be bought for sexual purposes.

Nudity: We see nude photos of women; prostitutes are seen. But it is not a titillating or exploitative film, but rather, a powerful expos.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: To keep him under control, a young boy is injected with heroine; the scene implies that he will continue to be injected until he is hooked. This was the most disturbing scene for this reviewer as it summarizes what these evil men were doing to all the victims controlling them.

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.