When 13-year-old Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) is kidnapped by sex traffickers in Mexico City, her 17-year-old brother, Jorge (Cesar Ramos), sets off on a desperate mission to save her. Trapped by an underground network of international thugs who earn millions exploiting their human cargo, Adriana's only friend throughout her ordeal is Veronica (Alicja Bachleda), a young Polish woman captured by the same criminal gang. As Jorge dodges overwhelming obstacles to track the girl's abductors, he meets Ray (Kevin Kline), a Texas cop whose own family loss leads him to become an ally. From the barrios of Mexico City and the treacherous Rio Grande border, to a secret internet sex slave auction and a tense confrontation at a stash house in suburban New Jersey, Ray and Jorge forge a close bond as they frantically pursue Adriana's kidnappers before she is sold and disappears into a brutal underworld from which few victims ever return.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A brutal, shattering story of child trafficking that is intended to deliver a sobering punch about the global human trafficking trade, Marco Kreutzpaintner's powerful drama is in fact based on investigative reports in the New York Times. That fact further deepens the impact of the film, a story that is depressingly familiar to thousands, (a million according to the cards at the film's end), around the world.
Kevin Kline creates a melancholy and understated character as the ranger whose personal demons contribute to his determination to help Jorge (Cesar Ramos) find the 13 year old Adriana, beautifully played by Paulina Gaitan. The bad guys are ruthless and credible, the music helps with the shifts in mood, but the overall tone is well measured, lightened occasionally by the banter between Kline's Ray and the young Jorge, as they take to the road across the US, heading for New Jersey, where the auction is held for some of the girls captured in this round.
The journey of the kidnappers and the pursuing duo is managed with intercutting and the sense of danger drives every frame. The online auction, albeit a small part of the story, is well staged, ratcheting up the tension as we near the climax - which takes place in an ordinary suburban house, just like the one next door ...
Quite apart from its role as a warning and an alert to complacency, the film has genuine merit as a gripping entertainment.
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CAST: Kevin Kline, Cesar Ramos, Alicja Bachleda, Paulina Gaitan, Marco Perez, Linda Emond, Zack Ward, Kate del Castillo, Tim Reid, Pasha D. Lichnikoff
PRODUCER: Roland Emmerich, Rosilyn Heller
DIRECTOR: Marco Kreutzpaintner
SCRIPT: Jose Rivera (newspaper story by Peter Landesman)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Gottschalk
EDITOR: Hansjorg Weissbrich
MUSIC: Leonardo Heiblum, Jacobo Lieberman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bernt Capra
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Heritage Film Distribution
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 6, 2009