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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/12/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 120 mins

With terrific performances and strong direction throughout, this hard-hitting thriller delivers a powerful wake-up call.

What's it all about?
When 13-year-old Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) is kidnapped by sex traffickers in Mexico City, her streetwise brother Jorge (Cesar Ramos) embarks on a desperate mission to rescue her. After crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by stowing away in the boot of his car, Jorge meets Ray (Kevin Kline), a cop who's on a personal mission of his own.

When Jorge convinces Ray that he's telling the truth, the pair join forces and follow the trail all the way to New Jersey, where Adriana is due to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, Adriana forms a bond with Veronica (Alicia Bachleda), a young Polish woman who's been tricked into the sex trade by the same gang behind her kidnapping.

The Good
German director Marco Kreuzpaintner (hand-picked by producer Roland Emmerich) maintains a decent pace throughout and orchestrates some extremely tense scenes; he also manages to suggest some pretty horrible goings-on without giving in to exploitation scenes or cliche. In addition, the film is beautifully shot, thanks to stunning cinematography by Daniel Gottschalk.

The characters are extremely well written (Jorge is by no means a typical hero – we first meet him mugging an American tourist) and the performances are superb. Kline is intriguingly cast against type (weirdly, he doesn't appear until around 40 minutes into the film) and there's strong support from Marco Perez, as Adriana's captor, who's struggling with his conscience.

The Great
Adapted from a magazine article by Peter Landesman, Jose Rivera's script is extremely powerful, throwing an unflinching light on every stage of the sex trafficking business, while painting a pretty bleak picture as to why it's so difficult to stop – a caption at the end quotes a State department official, essentially admitting that the problem is being ignored at a government level.

Worth seeing?
Trade is a well written, impressively acted and emotionally engaging thriller that carries a powerful message and demands to be seen. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 18/02/2020 05:28

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