...tough, moving and eye opening...
Initially headed direct to DVD, a glowing and rallying review on the ABC’s influential At The Movies has resulted in debut writer/director Dee McLachlan’s dramatic thriller The Jammed getting snatched up for a quick cinematic run. Thankfully, the film is gutsy and topical enough to stand on its own, and should rate as more than just a little film with an interesting back story.Through the eyes of everyday paper-pusher Ashley Hudson (an impressively natural and unaffected turn from Veronica Sywak), we are drawn into the ugly, brutal, shadowy world of people smuggling and sex trafficking in Melbourne. Though essentially an innocent bystander, Ashley soon finds herself an unlikely participant in the lives of three young women – Crystal (Emma Lung), Vanya (Saskia Burmeister) and Rubi (Sun Park) – who have been sold as sex slaves, and ply their trade in a seedy brothel owned by the outwardly respectable Vic Glassman (Andrew S. Gilbert). Taut and consistently gripping, The Jammed truly succeeds when it sticks to the personal side of the story. The plot strand involving Crystal, Vanya and Rubi is so loaded with emotion that it comes through with ravaging force. Their horrific plight and the fact that it’s happening in our backyard adds great weight to the film, while the powerful performances of the three actresses hammer things home to great effect. The framing story involving Ashley is not quite as impressive, despite Sywak’s strong work. Her coincidental involvement is never quite plausible, and the thriller-style elements that she drags into proceedings largely detract from the very personal story that is at the heart of this tough, moving and eye opening film.