NEW YORK (CNS) — A series of onscreen statistics at the end of “Traffik” (Lionsgate) are meant to alert viewers to the extent of the very grave real-world problem of human trafficking with which the film deals. They’re also there, perhaps, to reinforce the idea that writer-director Deon Taylor has approached his dramatization of this blight with only the best and most serious intentions.
By then, however, it’s all too late because this muddled thriller has long since bogged down in weak storytelling, implausible plot developments and — Taylor’s good-guy posturing notwithstanding — sensationalism. The latter element includes not only the pretty-girls-in-captivity trope but also an invitation to the audience to exult when the gals manage to exact a certain amount of bloody revenge on their kidnappers.
Cohabiting Sacramento couple Brea (Paula Patton) and John (Omar Epps) — she an idealistic journalist, he a gifted auto mechanic — set off for an idyllic weekend in the California countryside during which John intends to pop the question. John’s best friend Darren (Laz Alonso), a successful sports agent, has arranged for the duo to stay at a luxurious but isolated home in the hills to which he has access.
Along the way, Brea and John stop at a roadside gas station where Brea crosses paths with glassy-eyed stranger Cara (Dawn Olivieri) who is clearly a drugged-up damsel in distress. As Brea eventually discovers, Cara is being trafficked by ruthless Brit Red (Luke Goss) and his gang of unsavory biker-types.
By surreptitiously leaving a valuable clue with Brea, Cara has endangered the reporter’s life, and it’s not long before Red and his buddies come calling at that lovely but lonely house in the woods. Since Darren and his much put-upon girlfriend Malia (Roselyn Sanchez) have meanwhile shown up for an ill-timed visit — interrupting the lovebirds is a characteristic move on selfish Darren’s part — they too are in the crosshairs.
Increasingly gritty and gory, what follows is unsuitable for most moviegoers and not worth the bother for those for whom it can be considered acceptable.
The film contains nasty, sometimes gory violence, drug use, cohabitation, scenes of sensuality with partial nudity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it with youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: