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Eden – Review – movieScope

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Eden – Review


Released: July 19, 2013
Reviewed by: Chris Patmore

Although it is grossly under-reported in the mainstream media, human trafficking is now the second largest illegal trade in the world, with most of the victims being exploited for the sex trade. Eden takes the real-life story of a Korean-American teenager who is kidnapped and forced into prostitution and turns it into a drama, without resorting to sensationalism or graphic scenes of sex and violence. Acts of degradation and abuse are clearly alluded to, but are rarely ever on display and are never glossed over.

This is more a story of hope and survival, directed with great sensitivity by Megan Griffiths. Jamie Chung puts in a stellar performance as the abducted Hyun Jae, renamed the titular Eden when she is incarcerated in a storage unit turned brothel with other young girls. Beau Bridges is at his unlikable best as the corrupt Federal Marshall who oversees the sex and drugs business with the help of Vaughan (Matt O’Leary), a conflicted young man who is something of a victim himself.

While the film addresses a tough subject, it doesn’t leave the viewer with a sense of despair, but rather an air of positivity. This is the sort of film independent cinema was made for, featuring great acting, writing and direction as well as a powerful message that isn’t preached, trivialised or compromised.

4 stars

This review originally appeared in movieScope #35 July/August 2013


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