Bad Movies at Redbox: Watching the very worst Redbox has to offer so you don't have to

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Abduction of Eden

Redbox Movie Art
I would guess by the change in movie art, Redbox meant to market this as a corny Lifetime-esque movie, when it is anything but hokey and made for TV quality. This was clearly meant to be darker and weightier than a film with the tagline: Innocence isn't lost; IT'S STOLEN. The film makers obviously meant to take the subject matter seriously as evidenced by the poster below:

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.
Matt O'Leary is equally excellent and chilling as Vaughn, the drug addicted capo of the trafficking organization. O'Leary humanizies Vaughn without portraying him as victim caught up in the system or cartoonishly evil villain. He plays Vaughn as almost normal at first glance but clearly bubbling with rage and malice below his surface. The cast of Eden does a superb job playing unique characters tough to bring to life as anything other than two-dimensional victims.

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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  1. Very good review; incisive, right on target. Some of the film is hard to watch, true, but I stuck with it because I felt it was a very serious depiction of white slavery in Vegas, and I wanted to see the whole story through. The acting by the two main characters is incredible, very heartfelt, very close to the role they play. They are both extremely talented actors.

  2. Personally I think it was given a bad review because it shows white people some of whom could be seen as teen idol's in a different scenario as far from angelic and some white people I.e the reviewer don't want to be our anyone else to be exposed to that harsh reality that not everything that is white ids right !

    1. I take back the comment about the reviewer I didn't see his reading was actually 8/10 but I do like how the reality of not everything that is white is right like so many films using these teen idol type of guys because actually wicked people come in all different races and colors

  3. Why does it have to get rascist?? It can happen to anyone, right?? Just a movie to open our eyes that anyone can be capable of anything. Should have been a 6 or 7 out of 10.

  4. I particularly agree with the point made by the reviewer that the fact it wasn't a "cause-film", makes it that much stronger. I think the filmmaker read the story, and thought it would transfer well to the visual medium, not a filmmaker who wanted to make a film about trafficking and decided to use this story. It would not have been as well done, IMHO.

  5. Thanks both Anons, I think the second reviewer saw the title of the site and didn't read the comments (Happens a bunch). Thank you for your feedback!


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