The Jammed @ the Barbican Centre PDF Print E-mail
Music - Film
Written by TK   

A film about human trafficking is certainly a tough assignment to put yourself through.

Although there are more and more cases of people smuggling by the year, it is not often a subject that films have tackled in the past.  Which was why I was so surprised to see that there had been an Australian film made about this subject being shown as part of the Australian Film Festival held at the Barbican Centre recently.
 
Until now I would have imagined obtaining finance for a fictional film with non-fictional elements revolving around people smuggling and prostitution would have been a fairly difficult task.  However, not only did the director Dee McLachlan achieve this but also managed to make a film exploring particularly dark subject matter extremely watchable.  With the Australian film industry currently going through the doldrums, 'The Jammed' may not have proven to be a runaway financial success, but at the very least it has aided Dee McLachlan's future directing aspirations no end and no doubt added creditable weight to various Australian actor's resumes.
 
Filmed and produced in Melbourne, the film through its intricate interweaving of story-lines manages to simultaneously shock, amuse and confront the audience.  The mixed emotions induced no doubt reflect those of the immigrants portrayed in the film smuggled across the ocean from various parts of the world.  Their sense of freedom must quickly dissipate into feelings of hopelessness when they realise, for instance, that once they are driven down from Sydney to Melbourne that they must work as prostitutes to pay of their "debt".
 
The film follows the experiences of a young Melbourne woman, Ashley Hudson (Veronica Sywak), who finds herself accidently caught up in the seedy underbelly of the city's life after she tries to help a Chinese mother locate her missing daughter. Whilst Ashley's life is by no means smooth-sailing having recently broken off a long relationship, she finds herself having to look after women who have been subjected to forced-prostitution in a foreign country by rogue brothel owners and people smugglers.
 
Interestingly, the film also explores the impassionate government immigration departments which makes you feel deeply for the plight of any illegal immigrant having to deal with a soul-less bureaucracy.
 
If there is one fault of the film, it is over-ambition.  However, all in all it is an engaging, interesting film.  A cracking debut from the Australian director, however viewers be warned do not expect a Hollywood ending.

7/10

 
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