"Compelled To Go to the Rescue"
What You Need To Know:
Because of its exciting structure, THE ABOLITIONISTS conveys a lot of information effectively. It’s like a dramatic detective story where young people’s lives are at stake unless Tim can rescue them. That said, this is a documentary, so some of the dialogue is static and some is didactic. MOVIEGUIDE® has reviewed several documentaries against sex trafficking: THE ABOLITIONISTS is the best so far.
(BBB, CC, V, S, A, DD, M) Very strong moral worldview with strong Christian content and references about rescuing children from the sex trade in Central and South America; no foul language; lots of threats of violence, including traffickers come after the hero and threaten to shoot him; no depicted sex but the whole movie is about sex trafficking so there is some description; no nudity, but some skimpy outfits; background alcohol use but hero has never drunk alcohol though he sometimes pretends to drink to infiltrate the sex trade; background drug use; and, lying, cheating, stealing, extortion, trafficking, and kidnapping, but rebuked.
THE ABOLITIONISTS focuses on the heroic efforts of American Tim Ballard, who travels Central and South America rescuing children from sex traffickers. Although it’s a documentary, THE ABOLITIONISTS is structured like a drama with a clear goal and intense jeopardy.
Tim worked at Homeland Security when he was assigned to investigate sex trafficking. He found out America is the biggest sex trafficking country. Because of his faith, he was deeply distressed by what he discovered. He left Homeland Security to start a private nonprofit organization, Underground Railroad, whose purpose is to rescue children who are being trafficked.
During the movie, there are three major operations in different locales showing Tim Ballard and his team trying to break up sex trafficking rings and rescue children. Interspersed with these exciting episodes are interviews with young people who have been trafficked, rescued and rehabilitated. With help from a CIA figure known only as The Batman because of his uncanny ability to locate the traffickers, Tim is able to rescue some young people.
In Columbia, Tim sets up a sting operation that has very little success because the police refuse to send in their troops to capture the traffickers. The next operation has more success but still doesn’t achieve all its goals, one of which is to rescue a young boy who’s the son of one of Tim’s best friends. The final episode will determine whether Tim can catch several traffickers and free more than a dozen young women.
Because of its exciting structure, THE ABOLITIONISTS is able to convey a lot of information extremely effectively. It’s a lot like a dramatic detective story where these young people’s lives are at stake unless Tim is able to rescue them quickly. That said, this is a documentary, so some of the dialogue is static and some of the information didactic. MOVIEGUIDE® has received several anti-sex trafficking documentaries, and this is the best so far. The movie will premiere May 16, 2016 in a special one-night Fathom screening at more than 600 local theaters, but you can buy tickets now. Of course, the best movie on the subject is Liam Neeson’s dramatic thriller TAKEN.