Natasha arrives in Mexico thinking a job is lined up for her in New York. A driver picks her up, gets the number of a close relative, then takes her passport. Yikes! It's time to get the passport back, then run screaming away, whatever it takes.
Natasha does not do that. She gets thrown into a prison with other kidnapped women who are soon to become enslaved sex workers. After some time, she's sent off to Brooklyn with Sayed. When Sayed finally lets her out to use the toilet at a gas station, she hits him over the head and tries to run. Sayed beats her up, then ties her up. He continues toward New York.
Natasha is discouraged when she has to urinate in the van. When Sayed gets to a truck stop, he listens to her banging and weeping while he rolls something to smoke. He gets enraged when she kicks out a window. He tapes her into the front seat.
"I'm just a driver," says Sayed. Sure, Sayed, you have no moral culpability for your active participation in the slave trade. Soon after, he stops to pray, pointing to Mecca. After this, Natasha tries to bond with Sayed, telling him how she gave a man in Russia 3,000 USD to get an opportunity with an agency in New York. The money plus her flying to Mexico was all she needed, or so she thought.
This is where the movie lost my interest. The slave bonding with the slaver? If you enjoy lying, cat and mouse games, cheap shots and gratuitous violence, you'll like the rest of the film.
Does Natasha escape? Do any of the slavers get brought to justice?
Cinematography: 7/10 Mostly OK.
Sound: 7/10 I could hear the lines spoken. Music was mercifully minimal.
Acting: 0/10 I would have liked to have seen some acting in this two-character film. One might as well have teleprompter messages instead of people mouthing words. Neither was believable, even when they revealed that they had been lying previously. Who cares? This goes beyond the rottenness of the screenplay. The bit players were almost as bad as the principals.
Screenplay: 0/10 Sayed's self-righteousness is utter and complete nonsense. His belief that all enslaved women are whores is rubbish. I could have done without his hatred of the United States. I could have done without his endless self-serving lies. Natasha was about the dullest tool in the shed, and was not engaging. She had opportunities to ditch her kidnapper, and she did not. His physical brutality seemed about right on for a vicious kidnapper and slaver, which made his lies all the more foul. -- Anyway, the screenplay was repellant, but to no good end whatsoever. -- The ending was the worst part, since the rest of the film did nothing to justify it.
1. The scene where she hits Sayed over the head and seems to be able to escape is honestly where the story should have ended. Why? She hit him over the head with a toilet cover. The blunt force trauma alone would be enough to make anyone be incapacitated, if not dead. Furthermore, the driver of the car who just drives around the obviously battered woman with the man chasing her down is not something I imagine would happen in real life. If anything, the driver would have called the police and gave a detailed description of both of them and the van.
2. When the van topples over, no driver seems to take notice or care.
3. After the van topples over, Natasha, bloodied and bruised is walking along the interstate and no one stops to assist her. I again find it difficult to believe that no one would stop or even call the highway patrol to inform them there is a bloodied and bruised woman limping along the interstate.
4. When the man who finally does assist (after Sayed regains consciousness and drugs her) puts Natasha into his truck, Sayed knocks him out and takes the truck... with many passersby as eye witnesses. Further to that, here comes plot hole #5:
5. The driver of the truck would have immediately called the police to report what happened, and would have been able to give a complete description of both along with his truck and the license plate number as well as the direction they are going. As I assume they are traveling on the 95, the highway patrol would have noticed this truck and stopped them within 10-20 minutes. Yet, they are still able to get all the way onto the NYC beltway without so much as a sneeze in their general direction.
I can only assume the director and writers were trying to make a statement about apathy and how this plays into human trafficking. However, there are simply too many moments in this movie where you will raise your arms in the air in disbelief to make it enjoyable. I will credit the acting of Natasha Rinis and Sayed Badreya for remarkable performances though.
Hailed as being thoughtful and suspenseful, this film is nothing more than boring and pointless. The bond formed between the two main characters only materializes after events that make no sense.
The finally also takes things into a comic book world where only 1 in 1000 chance of the events taking place turns out to be true to form and that 1 time in 1000 happens in this film.
Purely unbelievable yet shot completely in the real and as such, didn't work for me.