"Harrowing Encounter with Human Trafficking"
What You Need To Know:
Harrowing is the perfect word to describe this thriller with a message. TRAFFIK takes too long to get to the trafficking, but it’s a well-made thriller shedding an important light on a great human evil happening now. That said, TRAFFIK’s designed for adults, and not just because of its subject matter. TRAFFIK also contains lots of strong foul language, a risqué swimming pool scene, and intense, scary and sometimes graphic violence. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
TRAFFIK is a harrowing thriller about a female reporter’s capture by human traffickers in America, and her attempt to escape and expose them. Though TRAFFIK switches gears into its human trafficking story a little late, it’s a well-made thriller that sheds an important light on a great human evil, but the movie’s made for adults and contains lots of strong foul language, a risqué swimming pool scene, and intense, scary and sometimes graphic violence.
The movie opens with Brea, an investigative journalist getting into an argument with her boss, who assigns a story she was writing to another reporter. Brea’s in danger of losing her job, which puts a damper on a birthday dinner for her that night with her boyfriend, a mechanic named John, and another couple, Darren and Malia.
That weekend, however, John has an intimate birthday weekend scheduled at a fancy company cabin Darren’s letting them use so John can pop the question. On the way to the cabin, John and Brea are harassed by a small biker gang at a gas station and convenience store. A fight almost breaks out between John and one of the bikers, but the local female sheriff breaks it up. Unknown to Brea, a woman in the restroom who’s with the bikers has dropped a satellite phone into Brea’s purse.
At the cabin, John and Brea’s romantic evening Saturday night is interrupted by Darren and Malia, who show up a day early. At the same time, Brea discovers the satellite phone and deduces that it came from the strange woman in the bathroom, who looked to Berea like she was in trouble. Brea discovers photos of trafficked women on the phone, along with a bunch of overseas phone numbers. Brea wants to go to the police, but Darren objects. An argument ensues, and it gets personal. Malia gets upset and walks out to the car to leave.
However, the biker gang soon comes to the cabin looking for the phone. They send the woman to retrieve the phone, but Brea hesitates. They are led by a smooth-talking truck driver who was at the gas station.
Things go from bad to worse. Soon, Brea and John are running for their lives. It becomes clear that the traffickers want to kill John and capture Brea to turn her into a sex slave. Will she and John survive?
Harrowing is the perfect word to describe this thriller with a message. Also, Writer/Director Deon Taylor has brought his experience in making horror movies to the subject. Another good thing about TRAFFIK is that not only do John and Darren step up to protect their girlfriends, but also that Brea bravely takes action to save herself as well as to expose the traffickers. She’s not just a victim.
That said, TRAFFIK takes a little too long to get to the trafficking plot. Although Writer/Director Taylor has said he intended to make two different movies, a romance that turns into a thriller with a message, he seems to take too long to build to the thriller portion. However, he’s crafted a well-made thriller that sheds an important light on a great human evil happening right under our noses.
Taylor works well with his actors. It’s good to see Paula Patton (who also produces the movie) back in a meaty role as Brea after her fine work in HITCH and DÉJÀ VU, two MOVIEGUIDE® Award winning movies starring Will Smith and Denzel Washington, respectively. Omar Epps of TV’s HOUSE also delivers a nice performance as Brea’s love interest, John. Laz Alonzo is good as the slick, devious Darren, as is Roselyn Sanchez as his put-upon girlfriend, Malia. Finally, Luke Goss and Missi Pyle deliver pretty creepy performances as the local leader of the trafficking gang and the corrupt, hard-bitten sheriff trying to control him and his men.
TRAFFIK is a movie designed only for adults, and not just because of the subject matter. The movie also contains lots of strong foul language, a risqué swimming pool scene, and intense, scary and sometimes graphic violence. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.