19 July 2013

Eden Review


Rating:15
Release Date (UK):
19th July 2013
Director:
Megan Griffiths
Cast:
jamie chueng, Matt O'Leary, Scott Mechlowicz,Beau Bridges, Grace Arends

South Korean, Cheong Kim was 19 years old when she met a man claiming to be in the United States military. Believing she had struck up a romance with the dashing stranger, she agreed to elope with him to Florida. En route she was handcuffed, had her identification destroyed and was held in captivity. Kim escaped, but with no means of identification and with no assistance, she grudgingly became an escort. Shortly after, she was raped and sold into slavery in Las Vegas, spending an horrific 2 years being transported to and from various warehouses with 40 or 50 other girls, many of whom were under 16 years of age.

Kim's captors tortured her by burying her in bathfuls of ice; they beat and even shot other girls who fell ill or didn't live up to their standards. Eventually Kim managed to escape by gaining the trust of her captors by convincing them she wanted to learn how to become a trafficker. She gained their trust, escaped and, after a decade, shared her story, going on to become a legal advocate promoting civil rights.

Megan Griffiths brings the story to the screen with an American Indie sensibility that eschews sensationalism or on-screen horror in favour of a more sombre, responsive aesthetic.

Intially you fear lack of visual punch seems to be a misstep; the absence of carnage seems to give the misery short shrift. It's Jamie Chung's heartbreaking, downtrodden performance which wrestles the film away from obscurity and offsets the lack of visual clout, delivering something which lingers and disquiets.

★★★☆☆

Chris Banks


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