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By Zack Haddad | January 28, 2007

Convenience, one of the biggest cop-outs in film. It is a device that can be used to further a plot that would otherwise be stuck in the mud at some point, but is quite lazy in its merit. In the case of the cross-country sex-trafficking film “Trade,” convenient events take place to slowly deliver a luke-warm film at best, a lazy filmmaking endeavor at worst.

Jorge (Cesar Ramos) is a small time crook that swindles American tourists in Mexico City. Adriana is Jorge’s little sister who is abducted in broad daylight and this sends Jorge on a chase that will span all the way to New Jersey. During his travels, Jorge meets Ray (Kevin Kline) who has decided to join Jorge on his quest to finding Adriana.

Marco Kreuzpainter directs the film and this may be his first foray into American cinema, and I hate to be the rain on his proverbial parade, but this film is weak in so many categories. Now granted, the film looks beautiful, but I had a huge problem with a few scenes in the film. For example, spoiler-maybe, there is a scene where Adriana and another one of the kidnapped girls escape into a giant parade that is going on in Texas. The girl with Adriana is from Poland and sees a pay phone on the other side of the parade so she tells Adriana to get the policeman who is less than five feet away from them while she runs across the crowded street to use the pay phone. All the while, the stereotypical captors, complete with penchants for heroin and female violence, scour for the two girls in their black windowless van. The Polish girl makes it to the other side of the street and looks for change in her pocket and since she doesn’t have any money she calls Poland collect. This segment takes forever and eventually Adriana goes over to join her friend without even talking to the policeman who was just a few feet away from her. Due to this odd delay and convenient lack of self-preservation, the Polish girl isn’t able to talk to her mom in time and both of them are nabbed in a very loud fashion in front of a parade with police in the crowd.

Now I have never been kidnapped nor do I know anything about sex-trafficking, but I am pretty sure that if I was abducted and forced to do things that I didn’t want to, I would tell anyone immediately and try to get to safety instead of taking way too long to call collect on a phone. This scene, along with others, took me out of the reality that this film tried to establish.

Kevin Kline is a phenomenal actor but it is a shame that he was one of the only redeeming qualities of this film. It may be shot well and have great looking locations, but be aware, this film is ugly in its subject matter and laziness, delivering a poor overall effort.

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