Trade (2007)
Trade (2007)

Genre: Crime Drama and Thriller Running Time: 2 hrs.

Release Date: September 28th, 2007 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner Actors: Kevin Kline, Cesar Ramos, Alicja Bachleda, Paulina Gaitan, Marco Perez, Linda Emond, Zack Ward, Kate del Castillo, Tim Reid, Pasha D. Lychnikoff

 


 

A

ruthlessly disturbing yet important film, “Trade” introduces viewers to the brutal world of trafficking humans as sex slaves. Through its graphic violence and jolting realism, “Trade” does to the world what “Hostel” did to Slovakia – but with far more authenticity, a grounding in reality, and a mainstream filmmaking approach. Trust and decency are grossly lacking in the dismal world bloodily painted onscreen, but an immense knowledge can be gained from witnessing the shocking deterioration of the value of human life (or, rather, the loss of humanity in exploiting human life). Thought-provoking and stomach-churning, “Trade” is easily one of the most powerful pictures of the year.

Jorge (Cesar Ramos Ceballos) is a negligent, criminalistic youth who sees no wrong in stealing from tourists in Mexico. But when his younger sister, Adriana (Paulina Gaitan), is kidnapped by Russian sex-slave traders, he embarks on a harrowing mission to get her back. By chance, he stumbles upon Ray Sheridan (Kevin Kline), a man who comparably lost his daughter many years prior to human trafficking. As they band together to rescue Adriana, realizing that the police aren’t in a position to be of much help, numerous other victims continue to suffer as knowledgeable government agencies fail to stop individual acts of sexual violence and abduction.

An upbeat, enthusiastic, opening title sequence theme song couldn’t possibly less prepare audiences for the savageries that await. While most people are vaguely aware of the existence of human trafficking, “Trade” chronicles all the gritty and disturbing details that can’t be found anywhere else with such affronting depictions. Still, as a work of fiction, it possesses entertainment value, if only for the gravity of the scenarios and the sincerity in which the actions are scrutinized. It also serves as a wake-up call and a morality lesson, especially with the public service announcement closing credits.

Kevin Kline is simply outstanding as Ray, scripted with an introduction of technical and artistic proficiency, leading an ensemble cast of remarkable talent. Ramos is also skillfully complex, shifting corruption into heroism when his personal situation turns dire. Particularly crushing is the realization that law enforcement is only interested in the larger picture (or the bigger fish), leaving countless subjects to endure unspeakable abuses – and ultimately motivating the unlikely duo to take matters into their own hands.

In “Trade,” everyone is a victim, though occasionally audiences are asked to sympathize with the villains (or, in some instances, the least – or long ago – victimized). But the atrocities showcased in this endeavor are of such an intense level that forgiveness is completely out of the question, even if the cycle of mistreatment is a very real psychological factor for depravity. Alongside this murkiness of character integrity, the protagonists are given few wins, making the heavy and overbearing suffering of those the film follows in their journey through the bowels of the sex slave industry considerably more difficult to digest. Hard-edged but intellectually rewarding, “Trade” highlights a topic that is as uncomfortable to discuss as it is to watch – but significant nonetheless.

– Mike Massie

  • 8/10