Thursday, March 15, 2012
Its strange that two of the best films of the SXSW festival had depressing and disgusting themes, but in the spirit of the excellent movie Wolf, Eden takes its place at the top of this years films. Eden is the story of a 19 year old South Korean girl in the mid- 1990's who is abducted by a underage girl prostitution ring. The girl, Chong Kim is played by Jamie Chung (Hangover Part II, Sucker Punch). Beau Bridges plays the head of this particular unit, although the movie hints at the organization having several locations and businesses. And Matt O'Leary (In Time, Live Free or Die Hard) plays Vaughn the second in command who deals with the girls on a daily basis.
What really makes this story intense is that its true. Chong Kim was abducted in the mid-1990's and went from victim to accomplice to avenger to advocate. During her 3 1/2 + years in captivity she was able to convince her captor that she was too old and undesirable to work with customers (she is 19, but most of the girls are between 10-15). She proves herself worthy of helping Vaughn collect money and keep track of the girls. By getting close to the operations side of the shadowy organization she is able to position herself in a way that will assist her to attempt to escape.
The movie is gut wrenching and disturbing. Of course we all know that human trafficking occurs, but seeing it in this manor really makes you sick as you watch it. The movie does a great job though of not showing gratuitous nudity or sex. With a theme that is based around sex, it is unique to build a story without showing explicit acts. This movie does not need that shock value to make you feel the pain and turn your head on multiple occasions in disgust.
As I stated previously, this rates with the top films of the festival. During the Q&A we learned more about Chang's struggles after she escaped, her trepidation of turning to the police after seeing so many of them as clients, how true the film was to the real story, and that the film has not been picked up yet! This is one of those movies which need a lot of help to get to the screen and a lot of word of mouth. With the exception of Beau Bridges the movie doesn't show case any A-list actors, nor does it have special effects or a quick pace. But this movie is good. When it gets picked up- go see this. As one audience member put it today, this film will force you to ask "What can I do" when the credits role. I give it 4 stars out of 5. Great film!
Movie poster from: http://d1oi7t5trwfj5d.cloudfront.net/fe/ed7f3069da11e19987123138165f92/file/Eden%20poster.jpg