“ Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 2007 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner / Actors: Cesar Ramos, Pavel Lychnikoff, Kevin Kline, Alicja Bachleda-Curus, Pauline Gaitan ... / DVD released 2009-05-11 at Lions Gate Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
Trade tells the story of a 13 year old Mexican girl who goes against her mothers wish and sneaks out of her house to ride her new bike. This, it turns out, was a really bad idea as she's picked up by human sex traffickers and her brother, Jorge, finds out whats happened and vows to go after her, find her and bring her home. He escapes to the US and ends up accidentally running into an insurance fraud specialist who at first vows to give him up to the authorities but soon he realises what the situation Jorge is in and agrees to try and help him out. Can they track down Jorge's sister before she disappears forever? you'll have to watch the movie to find out of course.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This is obviously a movie that is quite uncomfortable to watch. Its gritty and features some disturbing scenes, including a rape scene, so be aware of that. To be honest, there isn't a great amount of action in the movie, its a fairly (frustratingly) slow movie as far as the plot is concerned and it really highlights the horrendous sex trafficking industry, which is clearly highlighted in the movie as being a global trade. The movie, I feel, was made to make people aware of what goes on seemingly behind closed doors - it was quite shocking to see where the house in New Jersey where the trafficked women ultimately ended up at, was situated - it being located in the middle of a remarkably ordinary, possibly middle class street, not in some completely run down ramshackle shanty town type dump.
What worked well in this movie, I felt, were the characters. Of course as far as the trafficked women were concerned (or more the actresses that portray them), they had a very daunting task, to effectively represent the many thousands of people that end up in the same position as their characters. In the movie, Jorge and Ray are the sort of supporting roles or characters but they are both very good characters I feel - Jorge for his compassion and clear love of his sister, his determination to track her down and ultimately for retribution against those who sold her off, Cesar Ramos does give a great performance as Jorge and Ray is a very interesting character as an insurance fraud officer who it turns out as he opens up to Jorge, has also been touched by the human trafficking trade and it turns out, was on a similar quest as Jorge, although his story is, while in some ways similar to his, in other ways its different but it was definitely interesting to see him open up to Jorge, to see how they interacted and so on.
Thinking about it, it seems to me that some of the most frustrating elements in the story were deliberately included to be symbolic, primarily to symbolise/highlight how hidden this horrendous trade is, like to say that we don't wish to acknowledge that such things actually go on. Its really quite uncomfortable, upsetting almost, to see at different points in the movie, the trafficked women being out in the open, with there being a chance for them to escape and yet somehow that tends to elude them, one scene inparticular comes to mind whereby Adriana and another of the girls (I get the names muddled, I think it might have been Veronika?) ends up near a large crowd of Americans watching a big parade with police officers nearby, yet the crowd have their backs turned to the girls and still things don't work out the way that you really want it to - I wondered how realistic this was.
The difference between this movie and, say Man on Fire, is that this movie has less action and is really more about making you think about what goes on literally behind our backs. The movie ends with some statistics displayed across the screen to again bring home how much of an epidemic I suppose, it is, although I noticed that it didn't really seem to clarify whether the numbers stated were annual figures or monthly figures or whatever.
There is also a sad irony to one of the last scenes in this movie, whereby its almost as if things have gone full circle as Jorge ends up back in Mexico and recognises somehow who is involved in the industry and full of rage he goes after him - the reaction afterwards of someone who clearly wouldn't understand the significance of whats happened, is both sad and somewhat touching.
No this isn't an 'entertaining' movie, its not particularly easy to watch at points but then it really shouldn't be and given its remit, I think it does a pretty good job. The characters are brought to life, it highlights something that some people undoubtedly would rather not acknowledge even exists and it represents both the mislaid hope and optimism by those young girls who end up in the trade as well as showing in one scene, a rare moment of hesitation from one of the men after being offered the chance to 'do the right thing' - which made me wonder if all the people who were paid to transport the 'human goods' were as bad as you think - had they been pushed into doing what they do? ehhh thats probably way naive of me to wonder, I don't know - I don't remember if that man was the same one that raped one of the other girls but it did make you wonder about motive and so on.
- Would I Recommend It? -
I'm not sure this is really a movie that is recommendable in the traditional sense - its certainly not something to suggest most people watch as a fun film to pass the time or cheer you up or anything, clearly! Its not so much of an action movie, its a little (not entirely but a bit) slow, story wise and some scenes are, of course, disturbing but it does offer some interesting characters, good performances and more importantly it highlights the prevalence of the human trafficking trade - there's even a young boy in the group of trafficked people featured in the movie, which highlights that its not just girls/women that are targetted.
This is a gritty movie that does its job well and if this is a subject matter that interests you somehow then yes I'd recommend this movie to you, though I felt very frustrated by some scenes, I like to think that I understand why they occured and that its a very symbolic movie. This isn't for the faint hearted but then I think I've said that enough for one review, its rated 15 for obvious reasons, though it does also feature one or two scenes involving drugs as well as the rape scene and some mild to moderate violence. Its up to you whether this is something that you'd choose to watch or not, I hope this review has helped in that regard. Thanks, as ever, for all rates and comments and this review was originally posted on Ciao UK.
I put this in my rental list and when it came had actualy forgotton what the film was about so was pleasantly surprised when I started watching it.
The film is mainly set in Mexico and America and is about a gang who kidnap young girls and boys in order to sell them to the highest bidder on an internet auction.
The gang ship in young Polish girls who are desperate for a new life in America under the pretence they are going to get a decent job and live the American dream.
They are not fussy who they take and snatch Adrianna a 13 year old Mexican girl whilst she is cycling in the area she lives leaving her new bike a birthday gift from her brother Jorge in the middle of the road.
Her brother later sees a young boy who has found the bike cycling on it and rushes to the spot it was found and realises to his horror she has been kidnapped.
He searches for her captors and follows them on their journey to America meeting up with Kevin Kline playing a Texas cop en route who happens to be at the premises where Adriana and the other captives were being held but are no longer there.
Klines own daughter whom he has never met was sold by her mother to a similar gang ten years before and he is seeking information on her whereabouts.
Without spoiling the movie I cannot tell you much else but it is very harrowing to watch and there is some brilliant acting.
The scary thing is this really happens!
I may post a copy through all my neighbours doors whose kids as young as five roam around the streets where I live perhaps they may try and amuse them themselves then?
But probably not.
Great film but dont expect a happy ending.
Currently selling on Amazon U.K for £10.98 or you can rent it from any dvd rental store.
If you have an online dvd retal list definatly put this in!