German director Marco Kreuzpaintner’s film Trade, based on the New York Times Magazine article “TheGirls Next Door” by Peter Landesman, deals with the horrorsof the international sex trafficking network. Be warned: the movieabout human exploitation does not shy away from disturbing scenes ofrape and violence to make its point.
The stories of three characters intersect in the film:Adriana, (Paulina Gaitán), a 13-year-old Mexican girlkidnapped on the streets of her country’s capital; Verónica (Alicja Backleda), a young Polish mom who’s snatched away whilearriving at the airport; and Ray (Kevin Kline), a Texas coplooking for his own lost daughter.
Ray joins forces with Jorge (César Ramos), the brother of the Mexican girl who’s determined to rescue his sister fromthe clutches of the sexual predators. A father-son-like friendshipbuds between the two as they search for their loved ones.
Ramos’s stellar acting is comparable to that of Gael García Bernal in Amores Perros. His genuine andpassionate performance is sure to be one of the standout roles of theyear.
Mexican actress Kate del Castillo has a small partin the movie, and she does a good job. But for those of you who want to see the flick only because you think she’s the leading lady, doyourself a favor and don’t waste the 11 bucks. She’s onscreen for amere 10 minutes. It’s worth mentioning, though, that she’s becoming aversatile actress, one who’s breaking the stereotype that telenovelaactresses can’t do successful U.S. film roles.
The screenplay, written by the Oscar-nominated Puerto Rican José Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), is brimming with bloodcurdling and emotionally intense moments, but it never finds a suitable rhythm for the actors’ dialogue. The director hasconsistency problems as well, as certain scenes don’t synchronize wellwith the pace of the plot.
Despite its problems, it’s difficult to give Trade the cold shoulder. The movie’s plot alone raises awareness about aglobal problem that could affect any of our lives.