|Redbox Movie Art|
|Actual Movie Art|
Redbox Synopsis: After a night out with friends, Hyun Jae accepts a late night ride home from a young firefighter. What begins as a night of promise quickly turns into a nightmare when she is abducted and imprisoned in Vegas as a sex slave. Renamed "Eden", she learns she must build the trust of her captors and sacrifice everything in a desperate effort to survive. Rated R, 137 Minutes
Full Review Below the Fold (Spoiler free)
I was undecided about reviewing this film after watching it and I'm still conflicted about posting it even as I finish my final edit. This film revolves around sex trafficking- not a light subject matter- but I think Eden is a great film. Eden isn't a Lifetime film like the Redbox art would lead you to believe and it avoids cliches and worn out tropes. Being based on a true story and having Chong Kim (the woman to whom the events occurred) as a producer keeps this film grounded. While that is to be applauded, what makes Eden a standout film is Jamie Chung's portrayal of Hyun Jae's conflicting instincts of self-preservation versus her altruism. Jamie Chung delineation of Hyun Jae's arc from naive and scared adolescent to hardened survivor is gradual and outstanding. Jamie is brilliant at conveying emotions silently and subtlety. I was skeptical that the former Real World reality star could carry a role as weighty as this but Jamie ended that skepticism entirely midway through the second act.
|Forget her Real World beginnings- this woman is a talented actress.|
Beau Bridges has his usual Big Mac Performance (follow the link for an explanation) in playing a monster hiding in plain sight. The unbelievable aspects in the film lie in this being a true story. Since we know the men and women victimizing the young women in the film were never brought to justice, Chong Kim would not be aware of some of the events being portrayed going on as she would not have been present, and while they are somewhat unrealistic and this being based on a true story, they do enhance the plot.
This film is a solid psychological thriller. I've seen some criticisms of the film claiming it doesn't portray human trafficking accurately or doesn't convey the true horrors. While I wouldn't disagree, the camera clearly pans away from some of the darker moments and if any film were to graphically portray such horrors, no one would want to watch the film at all. The tone of Eden is similar to the film Alpha Dog; accepting events occurred and rather than try and horrify the audience with it's own incredulous, indignant outrage, it moves past them and deals with the characters actions, reactions, motivations and mindsets. It's not a "cause-film" or politically motivated. Eden walks a tightrope giving the real life events respect while creating an interesting and fast moving narrative at the same time.
Overall: While this film isn't light material or a pleasant subject, it is an excellent film. Jamie Chung is memorizing portraying Hyun Jae's character development/transformation. This film is worth a rental based on Jamie's performance alone. The film works well, moves quickly and while some aspects may be unrealistic, the film works on all levels. It doesn't get preachy or rehash already tired subjects. This isn't a light, hokey Lifetime movie; rather a darkly themed film based on an abhorrent subject without constantly bemoaning the events. If you can stomach the subject matter, it's definitely worth a rental. 8/10
Final Verdict: Definitely worth a Redbox Rental.
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