Critics' Pick

Eden (2012/I) (R)

Drama 98 min. March 20, 2013
By Stephanie Carrie
While often associated with underdeveloped nations, sex slavery is occurring with increasing frequency in the United States. According to the Department of Justice, it is the second fastest growing criminal industry, just behind drug trafficking. Veteran indie director Megan Griffiths' third feature, Eden tells the true story of a Korean-American teen, kidnapped in 1994 and held prisoner in a warehouse for two years, forced to work as a prostitute. A smart script by Rick Phillips Jr. compellingly portrays Eden’s efforts to ally herself with her captors in an effort to survive. The first 15 minutes are clunky and predictable, beginning with Eden’s capture, then flashing back, leaving the audience to squirm through the bad decisions that led her to the inevitable, but the film becomes more nuanced and powerful as it homes in on the details of the captured women’s lives. Griffiths' direction is deft, relying more on suggestion than graphic scenes of sexual abuse; here the sound of a storage unit door rolling shut or the slow shuffle in line for the daily pregnancy test can be more chilling. Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch) gives a moving performance in her first starring role. Beau Bridges is masterful as the simpering and sadistic federal marshal running the prostitution operation. Matt O’Leary and Tantoo Cardinal also shine. A few moments harp on the sentimental, but overall, this is a powerful addition to the small collection of films dedicated to spreading awareness of this horrific crime.
Megan Griffiths Jamie Chung, Beau Bridges, Scott Mechlowicz, Matt O'Leary, Mariana Klaveno Megan Griffiths, Richard B. Phillips Phase 4 Films

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