Thursday, August 30, 2007


The Jammed (MA) * * * 1/2

FILM fans at BIFF who caught this local drama about the plight of migrant women who are exploited as sex slaves voted it one of the top 10 movies of the film festival, yet it almost didn't make it for a general cinema release. However, after such a strong showing at the festival and early critical support, Dendy has picked up Dee McLachlan's powerful film for an exclusive season. McLachlan was inspired to write a film about migrant women caught up in the shady word of human trafficking after reading a small newspaper article about a convicted sex trafficker getting a suspended sentence. The resulting story involves fictional characters who have been created out of real scenarios. It's emotionally confronting, with several scenes of rape and humiliation, but not terribly sexually explicit given the content. Ashley Hudson (Veronica Sywak from Blurred) is the ordinary woman who finds herself caught up in an extraordinary situation. She's a woman who works in an insurance office shuffling papers and her biggest challenge in life is dealing with the type of relationship hassles that many of us face. Then she encounters a Chinese woman who needs help. She's arrived in Melbourne looking for her daughter who could be working as a prostitute, with the only clue being a postcard of Flinders St Station. Hudson finds herself caught up in a world where people have no escape. The missing daughter turns out to be working as a prostitute under the name of Rubi (Sun Park, who has a very different role here than her normal gig as one of Hi-Five). Rubi shares a room, or really a hovel, with two other girls. There is Vanya (Saskia Burmeister of Sea Patrol) who retains some of her Russian feistiness despite her helpless situation and Crystal (Emma Lung of 48 Shades), who came to Australia to work as a table dancer but is raped repeatedly by a pimp who arranged for her immigration, before she agrees to work in his brothel. Sywak, Lung and Burmeister all give strong performances as women caught up in a desperate situation. (89 min)

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