R, 1 hr. 53 min. Directed By: Marco Kreuzpaintner. Release Date: Sep 28, 2007. DVD Release Date: Jan 29, 2008.
I watched this because it had been on my Netflix streaming queue for possibly ever, and it was time to clear it because I was tired of seeing it there. I walked into the movie thinking I had heard of it before, but it was also possible that I’d been thinking of one of those one-word title crime dramas like Snitch, Blow, or Traffic.
After I watched this, I saw how many reviewers (particularly the professional ones) had trashed this movie. There were lots of different movies, and none of them really made sense, such as the one where the review said this was a “buddy movie” gone wrong. Yeah… this is about a horrible thing: trafficking in humans for the sex trade, particularly trafficking in children. I have to wonder if that’s the real reason this movie got such bad press. I have noticed that the movies that have unpleasant topics tend to get beat up by the critics no matter what goes on in the actual run time of the film.
I thought the cast was a little hit or miss in this movie. Kevin Kline was a strong choice, although I don’t think Trade would go down as his finest performance. The rest of the cast members, particularly Paulina Gaitan and Alicja Bachleda, were very believable. Some fo the extras were less successful, and I would have been happier if Zack Ward’s Alex Green was either a much worse guy, or uninvolved. His waffling bothered me a bit and felt inconsistent.
The story is lacking. I’m just going to come out and say it. The chances of all this going down are in the negative. I’m not discounting the existence of these traffickers, I’m rejecting the idea that a teenaged boy could not only follow them across national borders, but could manage everything he did. I had the same problem with Taken as I recall. There’s too much left to chance, and the “twist” at the very tail end of the movie is completely implausible and unrealistic. It doesn’t even really do anything FOR the story, which is a problem.
Basically, Trade has its moments. It’s not a great movie, but it certainly didn’t merit the beating it got. If you’re even a little bit squeamish. Don’t watch this movie. I suspect it’s a good portrayal of trafficking in humans and burying one’s head in the sand doesn’t really help, but I get not wanting to see some of this stuff. It’s pretty awful, and I’m reminded about my argument that sometimes placing children in these conditions on film introduces them to things they’re way too young to know about.