Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Following its successful theatrical release, The Jammed is finally out on DVD. In her new feature, Dee McLachlan gets almost everything right in what is a challenging subject. A slightly bumpy time shift at the beginning is the only distraction to a fine, compelling drama which has something profoundly relevant to say about contemporary Australian society.Clearly motivated by a desire to shed light on the nasty sex traffickers and the insensitive bureaucracy in equal measure, McLachlan steers a careful course not to demonise either of her targets so as to lessen credibility. One example of how she avoids this is the casting of the ever likeable and talented Andrew S. Gilbert as Glassman, the operator of the illegal brothel. His wife (Alison Whyte) is about to open her own art gallery - these are ordinary middle class people. Behind the doors of the brothel lies a business run on snaring unsuspecting girls from Asia or Eastern Europe, taking away their passports and making them work as prostitutes until a super-inflated debt - usually the result of deals made to buy them from poor families and/or the cost of the airfares - is paid off.The performances are outstanding, directed with an understanding that credibility is essential to this fact-based story. Emma Lung makes Crystal a feisty yet vulnerable young woman, and maintains a credible Asian accent. Veronica Sywak, vaguely reminiscent at times of a young Shirley MacLean, completely understands her Ashley, and Saskia Burmeister is a revelation as the Russian girl, Vanya. Sun Park as Rubi and Amanda Ma as her mother Sunee are both superb, underplaying their roles to great dramatic effect.Peter Falk's cinematography is excellent and moody, with an illustrative score that uses female voices for melancholy effect. Indeed, the film's melancholy ending is to be welcomed; audiences for this film are surely adult enough to accept it as valid.
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